TED Conversations

Damon Horowitz

In-House Philosopher, Google


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LIVE CHAT With Damon Horowitz: When have you realized that you were wrong about what you once thought was right? June 8, 2011, 5-6PM EDT

Join us for a LIVE conversation with serial entrepreneur, philosophy professor, and Google Director of Engineering, Damon Horowitz.

This conversation will open at 5:00PM EDT, June 8th, 2011.

"I am curious to hear what prompts people to moral reflection and reconsideration: When have you realized that you were wrong about what you once thought was right?"


Closing Statement from Damon Horowitz

I’d like to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts and experiences here. My TEDxSV talk was intended as a provocation for the technology industry in particular to reflect further upon our ethical decision making – but I am delighted to see that it has encouraged much broader discussion.

The prominent themes I hear in this conversation reinforce the value of education, experience, and humility in our moral development. So long as we continually challenge ourselves to question our beliefs, there is some small possibility that we will not always be wrong about what is right.

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  • Jun 8 2011: Reflecting over ones moral beliefs or any belief requires strength. It requires strength to entertain the idea of letting go of a belief or readjusting it. I think at times we identify ourselves too much with our beliefs. We use them as the source of who ME is. But, are my beliefs the essence of me really? If so then I would say we are then a direct product of our environment whether we like it or not. I began to let go of my stringent hold on my belief system when I moved abroad and everything was challenged. I soon decided to not believe in any one cause just because or with blind faith, rather to discern and reflect. Does this really suit me? Does this feel right to me? It is possible to believe without buying the whole package? Yes, I think so. It's not lacking faith it's being reflective and honest to yourself. Why do we insist on you either have to join this or join that. I can join neither completely and still have conviction. Personal reflective conviction. What I want to know however is, why people can't admit they are wrong or have done wrong. Especially when it is plain as day for everyone. I guess you would call it denial. But, how does their head work, do they see it? Do they not see it? Do they see it and then repress it? Is it a protective mechanism? And why do I, when obviously being lied to for no apparent reason, not point it out. Hey you are lying to me. What is it we are afraid of in these situations that we allow being lied to? And why do people lie about the most inane things? This reflection came at an import store. You don't sell flour because you don't want to. Don't give me a ten minute lecture about customs poking holes etc. I know you are lying you know you are lying, but to what purpose and why are you even compelled?

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