Argumentative Theory

Recent theories of cognition suggest that there are really two types of logic we have, intertwined with one another. One developed for problem-solving — we look carefully at a situation, try to figure out how to mend that spear or bowl, how best to track down that bison or cook the meat. But many of our more abstract abilities come from another source — the need to convince people that our way is the one correct way so that people will assist us, and not someone else.

The Argumentative Theory of cognition, for example, suggests that our inability to see evidence that does not support our beliefs is not a “brain bug” but a result of an evolutionary process that favored people who could seem the most sure about their beliefs. People who are willing to display self-doubt do not tend to gain broad support, so evolution helpfully nuked self-doubt. As a result we’re actually horrible problem solvers, but boy are we sure of ourselves.


[[Engagement and Overconfidence]] go hand in hand.

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