flwyd: (1895 USA map)
In the same way, each individual reasoner is really good at one thing: finding evidence to support the position he or she already holds, usually for intuitive reasons. We should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play. But if you put individuals together in the right way, such that some individuals can use their reasoning powers to disconfirm the claims of others, and all individuals feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system. This is why it's so important to have intellectual and ideological diversity within any group or institution whose goal is to find truth (such as an intelligence agency or a community of scientists) or to produce good public policy (such as a legislature or advisory board).
— Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

I think that's an excellent case against one-party rule. It also suggests that majority rule, when a single homogenous party is in the majority, is less effective than majority rule with votes requiring cross-party collaboration or at least heterogenous thought within the party.

The focus of the first part of this book is "Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second," using the metaphor of a rider on an elephant. Haidt offers a lot of evidence that our intuitions and emotions (the elephant) typically make decisions and our consciousness and reason (the rider) is mostly focused on justifying those intuitions. This contrasts, of course, with the Rationalist world view (exemplified by Plato) in which consciousness and reason are in charge and can act independently of intuition. Haidt aligns more closely with Hume and his claim that reason is "ruled by the passions," though Haidt softens the "rules" claim.
flwyd: (Vigelandsparken thinking head)
I got some Viagra spam with the subject "Throb of consciousness; but they cannot go with us, th" and some difficult to follow spiritual cruft. That seemed like an interesting phrase, and Google's got about 400 hits for "throb of consciousness. They all seem to be of a florid mystic bent, with Hindu/Yogic, Buddhist, and Judaeo-Christian variants and even a quote by Nietzsche. This spiritual connotation seems a bit odd to me, because "throb of consciousness" is a perfect description of the headache I had this morning when I didn't want to get out of bed, but decided I needed to roust myself and make a doctor's appointment.

"The beginning and end of the world-process, from the first throb of consciousness to its final leap into nothingness, with the task of our generation settled for it ; all drawn from that clever fount of inspiration, the Unconscious, and glittering in Apocalyptic light, imitating an honest seriousness to the life, as if it were a serious philosophy and not a huge joke, such a system shows its creator to be one of the first philosophical parodists of all time." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
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