• Applicable


Defending your beliefs as vehemently as a soldier protects a territory positions new ideas or conflicting data as the enemy. Reasoning expert Julia Galef suggests adopting a scout mind-set to survey the world objectively rather than defensively. Using the Dreyfus affair as a cautionary tale, Galef shows what happens when you apply “motivated reasoning” instead of seeing what’s in front of you without bias. getAbstract embraces this talk as a welcome reminder to keep an open mind and resist demonizing those with different beliefs.


In the heat of a battle, a soldier experiences strong feelings of self-protection and of aggression toward the enemy. Army scouts, on the other hand, don’t attack or defend but seek to comprehend. They survey the battlefield for obstacles and advantages while mapping the landscape as accurately as possible. The differing mind-sets of soldiers and scouts serve as a metaphor for how people filter and process information and ideas.

The Dreyfus affair provides a fitting case study...

About the Speaker

Julia Galef is the co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality and hosts a podcast called Rationally Speaking.

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