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Amily shaw

TEDCRED 10+

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Can we think without any presumptions?

Questions arised from one of the conversation and a reminiscence of a old lady who said:"nobody is right but me."

Are we free of personal bias when we think?
how reliable it is for us ourselves to judge if we are free of personal bias or not ?

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  • Dan F 50+

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    Feb 28 2013: Why would you want to think without any presumptions?

    What is the meaning of being educated? Is it not to realize many things in life are black or white, true or false, rational or irrational, etc. My point is presumptions are not necessarily a bad thing or automatically up for dispute. To speak intelligently to someone about a field of study shared is most productive when certain things are considered factual and presumed true.

    This is called intelligent interaction. Admittedly some presumptions are more subject to question, but that is a far cry from dismissing all presumptions. I think I understand where you are coming from especially in the soft sciences, but you are making a categorical statement, which I dispute as having value in terms of trying to grasp difficult, or emotional concepts or ideas which may enable some self actualization.

    As a young ski instructor I came face to face with the dilemma of getting new skiers to presume certain things in order to do certain things. In this case to be comfortable is not to presume my suggestions, but rely on automatic instincts. Trust me, your instincts can hold you back. True adventure involves presumptions, despite how uncomfortable or seemingly unfair that acknowledgment may be. The results of leaving your comfort zone can truly be enlightening.
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      Mar 1 2013: Hi Dan I understand that presumptions are not necessarily bad.But it could sometimes make people fail to to take things as they are as well. Since I realise that "what it is" could be merely another form of not taking it for what it is.

      Interaction is quite a complicated process intelligent or not. Presumptions derive from experience dismiss information goes against it and seek for justifications and even creat reality that in turn reinfores them.
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      Mar 1 2013: Hi Dan and Amily,
      I LOVE thinking without presumptions....with the curiosity of a child learning something for the first time. I usually realize what information is "presumption", and can think beyond the presumption to new information if/when appropriate.

      I don't see Amily saying that presumptions are a bad thing, I don't observe her "dismissing all presumptions", nor is she making a "categorical statement". She is asking questions, which in my humble perception, is how we get information and move beyond presumptions.

      To use your excellent example of skiing Dan.....
      I also have been a skier most of my life, and I've experienced the changes in equipment, which facilitates a change is technique. As a young person, I learned to keep the knees and feet tight together...the legs were like one:>) With the new shaped skies, the technique changed and we needed to seperate the skies a bit, while weighting both skies more. I had one friend who COULD NOT adjust to the new equipment. He said he kept crossing his tips!!! He presumed that he could continue with the same technique, even though the equipment was very different, and he could not let go of his presumption/preference so he stopped skiing!

      In my perception and experience, true adventure, involves having an open heart and mind unclouded with presumptions, and THAT is leaving your comfort zone, which, as you insightfully say, can be truly enlightening:>)
      • Dan F 50+

        • +1
        Mar 3 2013: Hi Amily and Coleen,

        I agree that this is the overriding negative connotation of presumptions, but I'm still going to stand my ground. My point is that presumptions not only describes the referenced old lady contention, "nobody is right but me," but individuals of intellectual adventure and achievement as well. Presumptions can be important building blocks to higher learning.

        It's our upbringing (religion, etc.,) that tend to smother the thought process because it can impact our sense of curiosity which is vital to being open minded, willing and able to think things over. This may be more personal than generally recognized, but I associate presumptions with the thought process. It is not enough to be open minded you must also be experimental and receptive to new knowledge, ideas, suppositions, etc.

        Implicit in developing an intellect is having ideas, views, etc., It's what makes us more interesting - well hopefully. I certainly have bias and my share of presumptions, but I'd like to think I can defend my reasons for having them.
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          Mar 3 2013: Hi Dan,
          I'm not sure what "ground" you are standing. I agree that "Presumptions can be important building blocks to higher learning." That is what I've been saying right along:>)
          It all depends on being more....or less....conscious of a thought being a presumption/bias.
          I agree that information given to us by parents, society, religions, etc. impacts our curiosity, sometimes stifles an open mind, and often forms our presumptions/biases.

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