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Julia Galef's Mindset Discussion Examines the Logic Behind Beliefs

By: Joey Haar - Dec 22, 2016
References: ted & youtube
In her mindset discussion, Julia Galef looks at two types reasoning: "soldier mindset" and "scout mindset." These terms refer to the way that people approach problems in their lives. Neither is mutually exclusive (i.e. everyone displays some soldier mindset and some scout mindset,) but understanding their mechanisms can help people to get truer information about their worlds.

If completely honest with oneself, everyone will be familiar with the soldier mindset. Essentially, the concept (which is called "motivated reasoning" in psychology) is that a person will be more willing to accept information that coalesces with their beliefs and quicker to challenge information that doesn't. While such a statement seems absurdly irrational, soldier mindset is subconscious, meaning that people rarely recognize such biases.

On the other hand, Galef's scout mindset is when people strive to get an accurate picture of reality, no matter the impact on their biases and beliefs. Like in a battle, the soldier mindset is about protecting ground while the scout mindset is about forging ahead and getting information as precisely and accurately as possible.