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"Fascinating and insightful. . . . I cannot recall a book that has made me think more about the nature of thinking." — Richard C. Lewontin
Everyone knows that optical illusions trick us because of the way we see. Now scientists have discovered that cognitive illusions, a set of biases deeply embedded in the human mind, can actually distort the way we think.
In Inevitable Illusions, distinguished cognitive researcher Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini takes us on a provocative, challenging, and thoroughly entertaining exploration of the games our minds play. He opens the doors onto the newly charted realm of the cognitive unconscious to reveal the full range of illusions, showing how they inhibit our ability to reason—no matter what our educational background or IQ. Inevitable Illusions is stimulating, eye-opening food for thought.
Scientists have recently made the alarming discovery that the human mind is apparently "hard wired" to make mistakes in judgement--cognitive illusions--thatfunction like mental blinders, including "juror's fallacy, " "predictability in hindsight, " and the "seven deadly mental sins."
Our Spontaneous Intuitions: Angels or Demons?.
A Brief Speleology of the Mind: An Easy Tunnel.
Calculating the Unknown, or Bayes' Law.
The Fallacy of Near Certainty.
The Seven Deadly Sins.
How to Emerge from the Tunnel of Pessimism.
The Principle of Identity and the Psychology of Typicality.
A (Rationally) Optimistic Conclusion.
Posted October 3, 2005
'Let the thinker beware' could be the motto for this excellent and very useful book. Author Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini has done a masterful job of arraying some of the most serious and most commonplace errors of judgment, estimation and deduction. The style is mostly straightforward, if academic, and makes the meat of the book¿s message accessible to the general reader. One quibble is that the author¿s explanation of certain probability calculations (especially Bayes¿ theorem) leaves them less clear than they could be. That aside, we give this book the highest recommendation, especially for those who like to consider how people understand their world. If you are devoted to clear thinking, you could practically use it to conduct a daily scrutiny of your mental processes - an examination of cognition similar to the monastic examination of conscience - to identify and correct any inclinations to serious cognitive sin.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.