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View Diary: Orson Scott Card: What's Mainstream in the Madness (144 comments)

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  •  Emotional attachment can create blind spots (0+ / 0-)

    in anyone. If an expert gets too attached to his or her theory, s/he might be less likely to think critically about it.

    But it's important to differentiate between the basic capacity to do something and the ability to exercise it under specific circumstances. Our expert, if s/he really is an expert, would be perfectly capable of thinking critically about the theory in question if it weren't his/her own pet theory. The belief problem is a circumstantial limitation, not an absolute limitation.

    The primary absolute limitation on critical thinking is background knowledge. One doesn't necessarily need to be an expert in a field to think critically about a problem - but one does at least need a solid understanding of the field at the level necessary to understand the problem and its context. And it really helps to know the standard ways of approaching similar problems, lest one end up attempting to reinvent the wheel. The deeper one's background knowledge, the more likely it is that one's efforts at critical thinking will actually produce something interesting.

    It may be true that people might be less likely to attempt critical thinking within their specific narrow area of greatest expertise, especially on particular problems to which they believe they already know the answers. But when they do attempt it, they're most likely to come to accurate/interesting/novel conclusions when thinking about their area of expertise and closely related areas, and most likely to come to false/useless/unoriginal conclusions and fall prey to deception and emotional manipulation when thinking about areas about which they know very little.

    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

    by kyril on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:31:10 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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