Epistemic Pitfalls

How Reasoning Goes Awry

  • Anomalies of Language
    • What Berkeley called the mist and veil of words can cause confusion and impede reasoning.
  • Bias
    • The core notion of bias, which underlies prejudicial, cognitive, and statistical bias, is that of a force drawing a process off course.
  • Conspiracy Theories
    • conspiracy theory explains the evidence as resulting from a secret plot by a powerful group of conspirators.
    • The problem with conspiracy theories is that there’s always a simpler, straightforward explanation of the evidence which, per Ockham’s Razor, is more likely.
  • Disinformation
    • “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” — Voltaire
  • Fallacies
    • fallacy is an error in reasoning having an air of plausibility
  • Why People Believe Irrational Things
    • They believe what they want to be true
    • They jump to conclusions, knowing only part of the story
    • They seek out epistemic bubbles to protect deeply-held beliefs.