Sharing Human Nature’s Trait Of Subjectivity
The word human is often used as a synonym for mortal, fallible, faulty.
When someone is wrong or makes a mistake, others say, “Oh he/she is just being human. To err is human, (preverbal phrase). To be human means to share these common traits.Human nature is defined as: the general psychological characteristics, feelings, and behavioral traits of humankind, regarded as shared by all humans.
This blog is about subjectivity, a fallible, faulty tendency of humans. Subjectivity is: the quality of being influenced by or based on personal beliefs or feelings rather than based on facts, Dictionary.To be human is to have subjective (non rational) beliefs. This is a problem in human decision making that is well known. It is impossible for the behavior of a single, isolated individual to reach a high degree of rationality (“bounded rationality”). Herbert Simon won the Nobel Prize for this discovery.
To be human means it is almost impossible to always be totally rational or objective. This is because to be human is to be subjective. And subjective beliefs are subject to cognitive biases. A cognitive bias is a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive processes, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information. Biases are a companion of subjectivity.
A Few Of The Most Popular 71 Identified Cognitive Biases
- Confirmation Bias:To emphasize information that supports our beliefs, ignoring or rejecting information that contradict them.
- Self-Serving Bias: We tend to maintain beliefs that benefit our interests and goals.
- Bandwagon Bias: Our tendency to go along with belief systems of groups we are involved with.
- Uncertainty Bias: Our brain does not like uncertainty and ambiguity; thus we prefer either to believe or disbelieve rather remain uncertain.
- Blind-Spot Bias; Most people fail to recognize how many cognitive biases they actually have, or how often they fall prey to these biases.
My point is that we know to be human is to be fallible, and that we have subjective, biased beliefs. (Or we should know this). I suggest we each review the 5 above cognitive biases above and ask: Do I sometimes ignore or reject information that contradicts my beliefs? Do I maintain my beliefs that benefit my interests and goals? Do my beliefs systems tend to be the same as the group I belong to? Do I prefer either to believe or disbelieve rather than remain uncertain? Am I aware of my personal subjective cognitive biases? When do you believe you are being objective?
True objectivity would mean standing outside the human body, off the earth even, observing both without bias and without a human brain, Diane Ackerman. To be human is to be subjective, fallible, to err — and it is part of the human learning process.
To err is human, but it feels divine.Mae West