Julia Galef: On Being Wrong When You Think You Are Right

Julia Galef is a writer and the host of the Rationally Speaking podcast.  She co-founded the Center for Applied Rationality.  This center is a nonprofit organization which helps individuals improve their decision-making skills, particularly with the aim of addressing global issues.

In her recent TED talk, “Why you think you’re right- even if you’re wrong,” Julia addresses perspective.  Through the story of Alfred Dreyfus and Colonel Picqurt, she questions how we view the world.

Galef states there are two mindsets- a soldier and a scout.  The soldier protects itself and, above all, aims to defeat the enemy.  The scout, on the other hand, attempts to understand the situation as accurately as possible.  Motivated reasoning, which she dubs “soldier mindset” unconsciously influences our judgment on such matters as health, relationships, politics, and more.

Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs? Or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?”

Galef asserts, “if we really want to improve our judgment as individuals and as societies, what we need most is not more instruction in logic or rhetoric or probability or economics, even though those things are quite valuable. But what we most need to use those principles well is scout mindset. We need to change the way we feel, we need to learn how to feel proud instead of ashamed when we notice we might have been wrong about something. We need to learn how to feel intrigued instead of defensive when we encounter some information that contradicts our beliefs.

View the full video here:

[ted id=2537]

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