Why do humans argue?

Because there’s a wrong way to do things and we need to defend it.

paper pdf, here’s select from the abstract section ;

“Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade.” [DS: good]

“Skilled arguers, however, are not after the truth but after arguments supporting their views.” [ehh, sorta]

“Reasoning so motivated can distort evaluations and attitudes and allow erroneous beliefs to persist. [that’s poor reasoning and should be discounted from pure theory]

Proactively used reasoning also favors decisions that are easy to justify but not necessarily better. In all these instances traditionally described as failures or flaws, reasoning does exactly what can be expected of an argumentative device: Look for arguments that support a given conclusion … favour conclusions for which arguments can be found.”

I like cogpsych papers, but they tend to miss the wider picture and the subtlety of linguistics in rhetoric e.g. emphasis.
Social signalling, in short. If your social reputation depends on empirical truth, suddenly it becomes the primary priority. This is why politicians don’t have lifelong careers at the top. Ownership is separate from outcome.
A theme that could be applied to this blog: smug

One response to “Why do humans argue?

  1. Pingback: Jedi mind tricks in argument for extreme solutions | Philosophies of a Disenchanted Scholar

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