Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Chapter 8: The Allure of Certainty

Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups

"We cannot imagine, or do not care, that our own certainty, when seen from outside, must look just as unbecoming and ill-grounded as the certainty we abhor in others" (164). --Kathryn Schulz

Of course, in a book about wrongness, we knew we were certain to eventually get to a chapter about certainty, right? I mean, so much of being wrong links to what Kathryn Schulz refers to as "the allure of certainty." At one point, Schulz juxtaposes certainty with imagination and empathy (164). She later notes that our attraction to certainty is best understood as an aversion to uncertainty" (170).

What observation or finding from chapter 8 did you view as most useful or memorable? Why?

10 comments:

Brenda W. said...

The idea from chapter 8 that I viewed as most memorable was the notion that the idea of knowledge and the idea of certainty are indistinguishable. I found this so memorable because it is so true; it is something most individuals never think about but when you do think about it, you see how true it is. Schulz was saying that at a point, when we are so certain about something, we believe we are knowledgeable on the matter, whether we are or we're not. It is another aspect of our pride; we will find and create any evidence in our minds to prove that our certainty is correct and justified. I found this observation quite intriguing and memorable because it does a great job of explaining how my mind often works.

Stelisa J. said...

After reading, I became quite amused. I noticed that I do not take accountability for all factors of a situation, especially those that can change my beliefs. Once my mind is made up I still stand by my ideas, even though they may be faulty; this presumption relates back to not wanting to be wrong. Schulz illustration of certainty was memorable, because after reflection I realized it is more likely that people will respect those who stick to their beliefs, even if they are wrong. In comparison to those who switch sides once they receive facts. It is only because we then view that person as inconsistent or “flip-floppy”, not bearing in mind that they are doing the right thing by taking all factual information into account. Although there may be evidence to support the “truth”, people will also find evidence to support their faulty idea of certainty.

Sandra Nnoung said...

I found it interesting that nothing is ever really certain. People, however,can believe excessively in their own certainty. When people are sure of themselves they feel like an authority on the subject. They will try to argue their view forever even if evidence shows that they may not be completely right. To me feeling certain can be the same as feeling like you can never be wrong.
Another argument that caught my attention was that too much doubt can be as dangerous as too much certainty. I agree because you always feel wrong even when you are right. It is possible to doubt everything even when evidence shows that it is true.

Monique Williams said...

We are a society based off of many different opinions, and strong ones at that. Although I may not agree with ones beliefs and opinions, I respect someone that has such strong certainty and faith about their beliefs. Although I may not disagree that some people lack validity and credible evidence for their arguments, I think focusing on that persons certainty is just as crucial. Having faith in something, in my opinion, serves as much as a necessity as physical evidence.

Tia S. said...

As I've learned in my sociology classes, certainty and truth are subjective. What you think is true, I might not think is true. That's why I found the view that certainty is necessary so interesting. We need to believe that some of our beliefs are the truth in order to function. They serve as a foundation or at least a starting point for our other thoughts and beliefs. I suppose it's after our thoughts have had time to develop that we can begin to question what things really are "true".

Ke'Asha jones said...

I liked many of the ideas Schulz speaks of when dealing with certainty. The one i liked most is the one dealing with knowledge I felt this one was one i personally connected to because when i feel I just absolutely know something i feel very knowledgeable and as if I have the brain of Einstein. Her idea that Knowledge and Certainty go hand and hand is so dead on because so many times we find ourselves so certain about something because we feel we just have all the knowledge about that specific topic.

Jennifer Johnson said...

the notion that knowledge is a precondition to certainty stood out to me the most. I never thought of it in that light. When we have the kind of objective knowledge where we just know something is right, based on our own opinions, it leads to our certainty that we are correct in our opinions.

Yasmyn K. said...

The idea that I could most identify with is that of knowledge&certainty. To be honest, I can be one of the most stubborn people on Earth when it comes to me thinking that I'm right. I tend to believe that I know everything that there is to know about a subject/topic, but truthfully I just have a "taste" of the idea. The habits/ways of thinkging that I picked up are not at all great. I am striving to improve each day. I don't want to be overconfident, but I don't want to be under-confident. I believe that I'm finding that balance.

Conradette King said...

I thought that the concept of certainty and knowledge was my favorite idea from the chapter. It makes sense that people who are very knowledgeable in a subject are also very certain of the information that they have learned. Being certain about something almost becomes evidence that we are smart and that we know what we are talking about.

Conradette King said...

The idea of certainty and knowledge being indistinguishable was my favorite idea of chapter 8. It makes sense that people who are very knowledgeable in a certain field or subject are usually very certain about what they were taught. Most seem to use their certainty as evidence of their superiority and intelligence.