The Art of Self-Persuasion : The Social Explanation of False Beliefs
This text aims to provide a contribution to the analysis of beliefs and, through the elaboration of the notion of "good reasons", to make a significant contribution to the theory of rationality. It examines the main theories that have been used in the social sciences and psychology for the explanation of beliefs. The author develops a particular model which enables him to show that people often have good reasons to believe in false ideas. The central idea of this model is that people often draw controversial conclusions from valid arguments because they introduce implicit statements which they do not perceive, since they treat them - with good reasons - as self-evident. Hence they can hold doubtful, or even false, conclusions and regard them as solidly grounded. Boudon shows that this model can be used to reinterpret many findings from the sociology of religion and the sociology of knowledge, as well as from cognitive psychology. This model can also show how scientific arguments can lead to false or fragile beliefs - in short, Boudon suggests, beliefs in false ideas are often grounded in serious arguments.
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- Hardback | 320 pages
- 154.94 x 231.14 x 30.48mm | 589.67g
- 01 Jul 1994
- Polity Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
- 10 figures, 15 tables, notes, index
Table of contents
Part I: 1. The Powers which Induce us to Agree. 2. Good Reasons for Believing in False Ideas. 3. Simmel's Model. 4. Hyperbole Machines. Part II: 5. Questions and Answers. 6. No effect Without Cause. 7. Truth is Unique. 8. Words and Things. Part III: 9. Reason with a Small r. 10. Simmel and the Theory of Knowledge.