Knowledge belief first, confirming evidence second
in Knowledge resistance
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This chapter moves from knowledge resistance between communities to how individuals handle knowledge when they reason with each other. We usually like to think that the point with reasoning with each other is to move closer to a more accurate understanding of the world. If that were the case, people would begin their reasoning with others in an open-minded way, by collecting and evaluating the available information and arguments systematically before shaping their knowledge belief. However, as court judges have known for centuries, the order is commonly the reverse. This is in line with new research in a strand of thought called argumentative theory. It stresses that the function of reasoning with others is primarily to win the argument and persuade the others of one’s own belief rather than to move closer to the truth. This chapter also raises questions over whether some phenomena have certain inherent features that make us particularly inclined to resist seemingly valid knowledge about them. Examples discussed include vaccination, climate change, and human evolution.

Knowledge resistance

How we avoid insight from others

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