In our deluge of information, it's getting harder and harder to distinguish the revelatory from the contradictory. How do we make health decisions in the face of conflicting medical advice? Does that article on GMOs even show what the authors claim? How can we navigate the next Thanksgiving discussion with our in-laws, who follow completely different experts on climate?
Drawing from their multidisciplinary UC Berkeley Big Ideas course, physicist Saul Perlmutter, philosopher John Campbell, and psychologist Robert MacCoun tackle how to better understand the world and make informed decisions as scientists do—with discernment, discipline, and firm foundations of reason.
They illustrate how developing these skills can help individuals remain informed in a fast-paced, chaotic, and heartbreaking news cycle; avoid mental traps, such as cognitive biases, when making decisions; differentiate between facts and values, fact and fiction, and good science from bad science; and how to become comfortable with uncertainty across discourse—and disagreements
Perlmutter, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, is a 2011 Nobel laureate, sharing the prize in physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe. Campbell is a professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley and a former president of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology. MacCoun is a social psychologist and a professor of law at Stanford University and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
Their book Third Millennium Thinking: Creating Sense in a World of Nonsense (Little Brown Spark) is available for purchase.
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