Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On Being Wrong, Chapter 8: The Allure of Certainty

[Being Wrong]

"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? 

14 comments:

Tashawna Nash said...

From chapter 8 I viewed the concept of knowledge and certainty to be most memorable because it makes sense that people who are knowledgeable in a subject also are certain of the information that they have learned or been taught. Often people can use their certainty as evidence of their superiority and intelligence because they know something about a subject or topic even if they do not know everything.
~Tashawna N

Aja J said...

When Schulz said “our attraction to certainty is best understood as an aversion to uncertainty,” I found that most memorable. I like that she compared it to our fear of being wrong and I can definitely see this happening in my day to day life.

Terri McFadden said...

Schulz said, "Not everyone who is filled with passionate certitude is Torquemada." This was the most memorable to me because it showed that there are different levels of knowing you are right and/or acting on your correctness about a topic. The bigger picture is even though there is a big difference between arguing your point and murdering nations, both actions are caused by certainty. I found this line pretty cool and very memorable.

Brianna Reed said...

The idea of an "allure to certainty" makes so much more sense after reading this chapter. We look for certainty because it reassures us and creates a sense of comfort whereas uncertainty makes us very uncomfortable and doubting. It only adds up that we would avoid feelings of uncertainty at all costs. For some reason this made me think of religion and how people can have faith in a higher power even when they lack complete certainty.
-Brianna R.

Jaleelah Muhammad said...

Something I found most memorable was the concept of Evil Consumption on page 162. The conviction that what we have to say or our opinion is right and everyone is wrong is so intense that it's scary. I like when Schultz says "...It's a short step to thinking that I am morally entitled to silence such people any way I can, including through conversion, coercion, and, if necessary, murder". That's so intense

Tayla Myles said...

"And there is the fact that our conviction and our communities are mutually reinforcing, so that we can't question our beliefs without running the risk of losing the support, status, and sense of identity that comes with belonging to particular society." I found this to be the most memorable because i found it to ring the most true. People usually keep their opinions to themselves for those reasons.

Sydney J said...

I found the concept about the conviction of our leaders to be the most memorable. This is such a true statement. If our leaders are uncertain of a decision it seems that everyone begins to worry.
Sydney J.

Anonymous said...

I found when Schulz talked about how we gravitate towards certainty only to avoid uncertainty to be most interesting. I found this most interesting because it made since that us as a human race would want certainty to avoid our fear of the unknown due to our uncertainty.
Sierra L.

Anonymous said...

From chapter 8 what I found to be most memorable is when she says that knowledge is not the same as certainty. She says that with certainty there is a "sensation that something just is" and how it is hard for us to distinguish the difference between having the knowledge of something or being certain.
***Brittany P

Taylor Morgan said...

The thing that I found the most memorable was when Shultz says, "Some of our own doubt is alleviated by following a confident leader...other people's certainties make us feel certain." This makes me think back to when I was little and I would look for assurance from my parents when I was trying something new. This point also shows why it is so important to have confidence and good self-esteem as a leader.

Jaiara Johnson said...

I thought that the concept of an "allure to certainty" was interesting. By being right, it gets more self confidence and power. By being wrong, it elimates those feelings and leaves you were doubts. People strive to be right so that never happens.

cassidy oliver said...

According to scholars and others a like, certainty is a trait that is not valued to the fullest extent. William James juxtaposes that statement by posing a hypothetical idea where certainty serves a purpose. Certainty in some instances "help to make the truth which they declare" (Schulz 166). Being certain about a conviction can turn it into more than the abstract idea of certainty but into a realization.

Alicia S said...

The idea I found the most memorable was the allure to certainty. Many people spend so much time trying to make sure they're right or hide the fact that they are wrong if they are wrong while we should really just be more accepting of mistakes because humans are not perfect beings.

Anonymous said...

The idea I found most memorable was the allure to certainty. Humans need to start excepting the mistakes that are made in life. We need to realize that nobody is perfect and mistakes help you grow as a person.
****Anita Jackson