Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Naive Realism

Now this is the hard work. Taking your knowledge that other people’s views are shaped by their experiences, that they have filters over what they are willing to consider as evidence, and pressures on them (from without and within) to stay consistent, and a) admitting that you are just the same and b) figuring out methods to analyse your own views/filters in light of that and c) actually consistently implementing those methods consistently and persistently.

If we DON’T do that, then we’re just wallowing in naive realism

Naïve realism is the conviction that one sees the world as it is and that when people don’t see it in a similar way, it is they that do not see the world for what it is. Ross characterized naïve realism as “a dangerous but unavoidable conviction about perception and reality”. The danger of naïve realism is that while humans are good in recognizing that other people and their opinions have been shaped and influenced by their life experiences and particular dogmas, we are far less adept at recognizing the influence our own experiences and dogmas have on ourselves and opinions. We fail to recognize the bias in ourselves that we are so good in picking out in others.


One comment on “Naive Realism

  1. Antonio Dias
    February 27, 2011

    Great term!

    I’d just add that even when we do the hard work we’re still caught up in naive realism. While we might be able to squint-down and unscramble a detail here and there for a moment before we lose it, the rest of our periphery remains colored, even shaped, by our naive realism.

    We’re like the stoned or drunk driver crawling along at five miles an hour because he’s working so hard at appearing normal and not making any mistakes. His “SMRT” – ™ Homer Simpson – attempt is still pitifully inadequate.

    Still, better to interact with that kind of drunk driver than the one who thinks he’s a Master of the Universe!

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This entry was posted on February 24, 2011 by in Ideological Blinkers, thinking tools.
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