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The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think…
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The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone (B105.T54 S56 2017) (edição 2017)

por Steven Sloman (Autor)

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207498,152 (3.62)1
"Two cognitive scientists explain how the human brain relies on the communal nature of intelligence and knowledge, constantly gathering information and expertise stored outside our mind and bodies, to overcome its shortcomings of being error prone, irrational and often ignorant,"--NoveList.
Membro:moorparkcolglibrary
Título:The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone (B105.T54 S56 2017)
Autores:Steven Sloman (Autor)
Informação:Riverhead Books (2017), 304 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Psychology, Critical Thinking, Cognitive Psychology, Philosophy, Non-Fiction

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The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone por Steven Sloman

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I finally finished The Knowledge Illusion. The five stars here are given *despite* the writing: It annoyed me a lot, but the thoughts in the book are important enough that they changed my thinking on some issues, so five stars are appropriate.

That said: I liked a lot of the thoughts in it, and I disliked large parts of the writing (both the forced humour and the wandering repetitious examples). I think it would have benefited from strong editing. Despite my annoyance with the style and some of the discussion branches, I liked the core points they make very much.

The part where we know little about our surroundings is something I think about a lot since I can remember. Occasionally it turns into what I call "supply chain anxiety", when I start over-focusing on all the things I can't know, and it's been nice to read discussion of this issue. The part that was new for me concerned group intelligence, and the idea of focusing on group performance and intelligence over individuals. It's cool and makes sense, and I have a bunch of nonverbal intuitions on this topic that I'm hoping to flesh out in the future. ( )
  _rixx_ | May 24, 2020 |
This is a reasonably good book about how people over-estimate their personal knowledge and how their reliance on the knowledge of other people easily goes unnoticed. It also discusses how people's opinions can sway in many different directions unless or until they are moored by feelings of social belonging. The authors present a number of studies in cognitive science which support their theses.

These discussions are in fact a bit too numerous and the book is a bit too long. The author's platitudinous argument that "thought is for action" is embarrasingly shallow, and the chapters on personal and collective intelligence testing could also well have been omitted. The book also jumps from one example to the next a bit more hastily than I would have liked.

But overall this is still a good book which offers its readers many new perspectives on everyday knowledge, scientific knowledge and political knowledge. Thoughtful persons can probably chart the limits of their own knowledge even without the explicit instruction provided by this book, but it may be harder for them to notice how much they rely on socially conditioned knowledge.
  thcson | Dec 23, 2018 |
It all begins with toilets.
Everyone (throughout the developed world!) is familiar with toilets. A typical flush toílet has a ceramic bowl filled with water. When the handle is depressed, or the button pushed, the water—and everything that’s been deposited in it—gets sucked into a pipe and from there into the sewage system. But how does this actually happen?
In a study, graduate students were asked to rate their understanding of everyday devices, including toilets, zippers, and cylinder locks. They were then asked to write detailed, step-by-step explanations of how the devices work, and to rate their understanding again. Apparently, the effort revealed to the students their own ignorance, because their self-assessments dropped.
(Toilets, it turns out, are more complicated than they appear!)

Sloman and Fernbach see this effect, which they call the “illusion of explanatory depth,” just about everywhere.

People believe that they know way more than they actually do.

What allows us to persist in this belief is other people. In the case of my toilet, someone else designed it so that I can operate it easily. This is something humans are very good at. We’ve been relying on one another’s expertise ever since we figured out how to hunt together, which was probably a key development in our evolutionary history. So well do we collaborate, Sloman and Fernbach argue, that:
“We can hardly tell where our own understanding ends and others’ begins. One implication of the naturalness with which we divide cognitive labor is that there’s ‘no sharp boundary between one person’s ideas and knowledge’ and ‘those of other members’ of the group.”

So not just rationality but the very idea of individual thinking is a myth. Humans rarely think for themselves. Rather, we think in groups. We think we know a lot, even though individually we know very little, because we treat knowledge in the minds of others as if it were our own.
This is not necessarily bad. Our reliance on groupthink have us an edge over all other animals and turned us into the masters of (this) planet. The knowledge illusion enables us to go through life without being caught in an impossible effort to understand everything ourselves. From an evolutionary perspective, trusting in the knowledge of others has worked extremely well for humans.
This borderlessness, or, if you prefer, confusion, is also crucial to what we consider progress. As people invented new tools for new ways of living, they simultaneously created new realms of ignorance; if everyone had insisted on, say, mastering the principles of metal-working before picking up a knife, the Bronze Age wouldn’t have amounted to much. When it comes to new technologies, incomplete understanding is empowering.
But…the knowledge illusion certainly has its downside. The world is becoming ever more complex, and people fail to realize just how ignorant they are of what’s going on. Consequently, some who know next to nothing about meteorology or biology nevertheless conduct fierce debates about climate change (trump/trumpsters), while others hold extremely strong views about what should be done in Iraq or Ukraine without being able to locate them on a map. Also, It gets much more complicated in the political domain. How could we then vest authority in voters and customers who are so ignorant and susceptible to manipulation? If Sloman and Fernbach are correct, providing future voters and customers with more and better facts would hardly solve the problem. (Try using facts and proofs to convince half-witted, ignorant and imbecile Trump and Trumspters that climate change is actually a thing (and many other similar things that are established facts), and not a propaganda by China)
Encouraging people to be more realistic about their ignorance is, as it sounds, very hard!
People rarely appreciate their ignorance, because they lock themselves inside an echo chamber of like-minded friends, and self-confirming news-feeds, where their beliefs are constantly reinforced and seldom challenged.

“As a rule, strong feelings about issues do not emerge from deep understanding”

It’s not really hard then to understand what (dafaq!) is happening around, especially in the current political scene in US and India.
Mass Psychology > Cognitive Dissonance > Confirmation Bias > Rise of Nationalism > Jingoism > Xenophobia >...Isolationism…

So what’s the alternative? Sloman and Fernbach don’t have a solution, and they’re well aware of the limits of their own understanding, and they know they don’t know the answer. In all likelihood, nobody knows...
If you like this book, you should probably club this with ‘The Enigma of Reason' by Hugo Mercier, Dan Sperber' ( )
  iSatyajeet | Nov 21, 2018 |
It all begins with toilets.
Everyone (throughout the developed world!) is familiar with toilets. A typical flush toílet has a ceramic bowl filled with water. When the handle is depressed, or the button pushed, the water—and everything that’s been deposited in it—gets sucked into a pipe and from there into the sewage system. But how does this actually happen?
In a study, graduate students were asked to rate their understanding of everyday devices, including toilets, zippers, and cylinder locks. They were then asked to write detailed, step-by-step explanations of how the devices work, and to rate their understanding again. Apparently, the effort revealed to the students their own ignorance, because their self-assessments dropped.
(Toilets, it turns out, are more complicated than they appear!)

Sloman and Fernbach see this effect, which they call the “illusion of explanatory depth,” just about everywhere.

People believe that they know way more than they actually do.

What allows us to persist in this belief is other people. In the case of my toilet, someone else designed it so that I can operate it easily. This is something humans are very good at. We’ve been relying on one another’s expertise ever since we figured out how to hunt together, which was probably a key development in our evolutionary history. So well do we collaborate, Sloman and Fernbach argue, that:
“We can hardly tell where our own understanding ends and others’ begins. One implication of the naturalness with which we divide cognitive labor is that there’s ‘no sharp boundary between one person’s ideas and knowledge’ and ‘those of other members’ of the group.”

So not just rationality but the very idea of individual thinking is a myth. Humans rarely think for themselves. Rather, we think in groups. We think we know a lot, even though individually we know very little, because we treat knowledge in the minds of others as if it were our own.
This is not necessarily bad. Our reliance on groupthink have us an edge over all other animals and turned us into the masters of (this) planet. The knowledge illusion enables us to go through life without being caught in an impossible effort to understand everything ourselves. From an evolutionary perspective, trusting in the knowledge of others has worked extremely well for humans.
This borderlessness, or, if you prefer, confusion, is also crucial to what we consider progress. As people invented new tools for new ways of living, they simultaneously created new realms of ignorance; if everyone had insisted on, say, mastering the principles of metal-working before picking up a knife, the Bronze Age wouldn’t have amounted to much. When it comes to new technologies, incomplete understanding is empowering.
But…the knowledge illusion certainly has its downside. The world is becoming ever more complex, and people fail to realize just how ignorant they are of what’s going on. Consequently, some who know next to nothing about meteorology or biology nevertheless conduct fierce debates about climate change (trump/trumpsters), while others hold extremely strong views about what should be done in Iraq or Ukraine without being able to locate them on a map. Also, It gets much more complicated in the political domain. How could we then vest authority in voters and customers who are so ignorant and susceptible to manipulation? If Sloman and Fernbach are correct, providing future voters and customers with more and better facts would hardly solve the problem. (Try using facts and proofs to convince half-witted, ignorant and imbecile Trump and Trumspters that climate change is actually a thing (and many other similar things that are established facts), and not a propaganda by China)
Encouraging people to be more realistic about their ignorance is, as it sounds, very hard!
People rarely appreciate their ignorance, because they lock themselves inside an echo chamber of like-minded friends, and self-confirming news-feeds, where their beliefs are constantly reinforced and seldom challenged.

“As a rule, strong feelings about issues do not emerge from deep understanding”

It’s not really hard then to understand what (dafaq!) is happening around, especially in the current political scene in US and India.
Mass Psychology > Cognitive Dissonance > Confirmation Bias > Rise of Nationalism > Jingoism > Xenophobia >...Isolationism…

So what’s the alternative? Sloman and Fernbach don’t have a solution, and they’re well aware of the limits of their own understanding, and they know they don’t know the answer. In all likelihood, nobody knows...
If you like this book, you should probably club this with ‘The Enigma of Reason' by Hugo Mercier, Dan Sperber' ( )
  iSatyajeet | Nov 21, 2018 |
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"Two cognitive scientists explain how the human brain relies on the communal nature of intelligence and knowledge, constantly gathering information and expertise stored outside our mind and bodies, to overcome its shortcomings of being error prone, irrational and often ignorant,"--NoveList.

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