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Chapter 10. Taking Charge of Your Irrati... > Challenging the Pathological Tendenc...

Challenging the Pathological Tendencies of the Mind

It is not enough to recognize abstractly that the human mind has a predictable pathology. As aspiring critical thinkers, we must take concrete steps to correct it. This requires us to create the habit of identifying these tendencies in action. This is a long-term project that is never complete. To some extent, it is analogous to stripping off onion skins. After we remove one, we find another beneath it. To some extent, we have to strip off the outer layer to be able to recognize the one underneath. Each of the following admonitions, therefore, should not be taken as simple suggestions that any person could immediately, and effectively, put into action, but rather as strategic formulations of long-range goals. We all can perform these corrections, but only over time and only with considerable practice:

Correcting Egocentric Memory

We can correct our natural tendency to “forget” evidence and information that do not support our thinking and to “remember” evidence and information that do, by overtly seeking evidence and information that do not support our thinking and directing explicit attention to them. If you try and cannot find such evidence, you should probably assume you have not conducted your search properly.


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