You walk into a room and find Karen and Joe dead. The only evidence at the scene is some broken glass and a puddle of water. How did Karen and Joe die? Part I – Why LS 1? Dr. Ann Harper Fender Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women “This course was not awful like I was warned.” 2003 LS 1 Student “LS 1 was my favorite course.” “I had both a fun and enlightening time in LS 1.” “LS 1 made me much more aware of the world around me and helped me engage in critical thinking.” 2003 LS 1 Students “[My writings] have virtues that cannot be disentangled from the faults ... there is a way of being wrong which is also sometimes necessarily right.” Edward Abbey, 1967 THINK! THINK! Also think about HOW you think The Importance of Fundamentals ? Part II - Ways of Knowing (Fixing Belief) Induction – an argument from a random sample to a population Deduction – an argument from a population to a random sample Ah, Chocolate… More Chocolate… And Even More Chocolate… Conclusion At Mrs. London’s… But Then Arlene Lesher Ruined It… Charles Sanders Peirce – Fixing Belief Charles Sanders Peirce – Fixing Belief Beliefs (cling to) and Doubts (try to eliminate) Beliefs Actions “Irritation of Doubt” Inquiry Methods of Fixing Belief: Tenacity Authority a priori – “Agreeable to Reason” / Induction Science Science Reals and Truth (only way to settle opinion) All investigators will eventually converge on the same truth in the infinite long run Some Examples From My Childhood Tenacity Authority priori – Reason a Science Peirce Thinks We Must Choose Science Other three methods have some merits… But Peirce thinks we should want opinions to coincide with facts; therefore we must ultimately choose science If a person seeks to avoid the truth, s/he “is in a sorry state of mind indeed.” Other Thoughts on Fixing Belief & Science Charles Darwin: Painstaking observation leads to knowing Thomas Kuhn: “Normal science” is based upon past scientific achievements and shared paradigms (common sets of assumptions); there is a universal scientific language as well as a cumulative nature to knowing Stephen Jay Gould: Knowledge is constantly changing – “Facts” are always reassessed, reinterpreted, reconfigured, etc. Frank Conroy: Understanding is both a conscious and unconscious process; can take years and is often triggered by seemingly unrelated events Benjamin Whorf & Edward Sapir: Culture and language shape each other and structure the way we perceive the world; thus there isn’t a single reality Some Questions to Think About Are “Reals” really independent of opinion? Can all questions be answered with science? Part III Problem Analysis and Decision Making 101 The Rational Decision Making Process Define/Diagnose The Problem or Issue Develop Alternative Solutions Evaluate Alternatives Choose Best Alternative and Implement It Are Decision Making (Problem Analysis and Solving) Processes Completely Rational? Some recent examples: Mate Choice & College Choice 8:00 Classes & Alarm Clocks Traffic Patterns & The “Energy Bill” 9/11 Response Josh’s Mate Choice Discussion… 8:00 Classes… ? Mohan Stuck in Traffic in Boston… 9/11… Problem Analysis and Problem Solving Perils Don’t have complete information Focus on symptoms not the core problem or issue Differences in underlying assumptions and beliefs There isn’t a problem or issue, rather there are many interrelated problems and issues As a Result: Decision making is not a rational process. Too many issues, too many choices, not enough time, other resource limitations, cognitive limitations, etc. Thus, our rationality is bounded. These limitations lead to satisficing behavior as opposed to maximizing behavior (college choice, job choice, mate choice?) S/he who defines the problem or issue has just as much, if not more, power than s/he who solves it! (energy issue, Iraq, academic rigor) Decision Making Problems in Groups Group Polarization: Groups tend to make more extreme decisions; individuals in group not as accountable Glenbrook High “Powder Puff” Hazing Decision Making Problems in Groups Groupthink: Team cohesiveness leads members to strive for unanimity rather than realistically appraise alternative courses of action (Space Shuttle disasters, Iraq?) Group is highly cohesive Group faces external threat Group is isolated from outsiders Self-censorship of dissenting ideas Excessive negative stereotyping Unquestioned morality Decision Making Problems in Groups Escalation of Commitment: Self-justification, gambler’s fallacy, perceptual blinders, closing costs, etc., lead people to continue down a path of failure (Relationships, Vietnam, Building the Concorde) Garbage Can Model of Decision Making It’s only rational that decision making processes are not rational! BUT, understanding the pitfalls leads us closer to rationality Parting Shots Show up on time! Be prepared to think and debate. Don’t be scared of the “irritation of doubt” and be open to changing your beliefs.