Patterns, Thinking, and Cognition: A Theory of Judgment

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 1987 - Psychology - 332 pages
0 Reviews
For decades, both policymakers and analysts have been frustrated by sharp and stubborn conflicts between expert and lay perceptions on issues of environmental risk. For example, most experts - even those opposed to nuclear power on other grounds - would see precautions like those now in place as adequate to protect against risks from nuclear waste. But the public finds that very hard to believe. Similar sharp conflicts of expert/lay intuition are evident on a wide range of risk issues, from the safety of bendictin as a treatment for morning sickness to the safety of irradiation of food to destroy microorganisms. In Dealing with Risk, Howard Margolis explores the expert/lay rift surrounding such contentious issues and provides a provocative new account. The usual explanation of expert/lay conflicts is that experts are focused only on a narrow notion of risk - such as potential fatalities - but lay intuition is concerned about a wide range of further concerns, such as fairness and voluntariness of exposure. Margolis argues that this "rival rationalities" view in a fundamental way misses the point of these controversies, since the additional dimensions of lay concern often are more plausibly interpreted as reflections of lay concern than as causes. Margolis argues that risk assessment typically involves weighing a broad range of often complicated trade-offs between costs and benefits. As laypersons, however, we are by definition forced to make judgments on complex matters beyond the scope of our normal experience. Especially in cases involving potential danger, we frequently discount nuance and respond more viscerally. Cognitively we fall back on default responses, all-purpose intuitionssuch as "better safe than sorry" or "nothing ventured, nothing gained." Such intuitions don't admit of careful balancing of pros and cons, and lay opinion consequently becomes polarized and at odds with the expert view.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
1
Illusions
9
Two Preliminary Arguments
25
A Cognitive Ladder
42
PCognition
63
Knowledge Belief Logic
87
Learning Level 1
112
Learning Level 2
124
The Darwinian Discovery
188
The Copernican Issues
198
The Copernican Discovery
224
The Copernican Contagion
250
Political Judgment Galileo and the Pope
274
Notes
303
Literature Cited
319
Index
325

Cognitive Statics Three Experiments
141
Cognitive Dynamics Paradigm Shifts
169

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1987)

Howard Margolis is senior lecturer in the Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago.

Bibliographic information