February 2 2017

Why not change your mind?

Tonight, please read the article entitled, “Why not change your mind” from The New Philosopher and then respond here.  For your response, you may consider the following questions:

  • What is the claim or thesis of this article?
  • What support does the author provide for his claim or thesis?
  • What if any rhetorical appeals does the author use?
  • Do you find his argument persuasive?
  • Would you ever consider changing your mind about capital punishment for the mentally disabled?

Please also listen to this podcast “The Incredible Rarity of Changing Your Mind” from This American Life from Chicago Public Radio.

Full warning, however!

The podcast is almost a full hour long and deals with some controversial subjects like gay marriage and abortion.  Please be sure to get your parents’ permission to listen to this.

OMM blog #11

Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.

Posted February 2, 2017 by equinson in category Of Mice and Men

27 thoughts on “Why not change your mind?

  1. caias1

    The claim for Why Not Change Your Mind is that everyone should be open to changing their minds. He constantly brings up people changing their opinions on war and pacifism. The author also uses a lot of logos, there was barely any pathos. For me, his argument was not very persuasive, it was very difficult to understand and read. I am personally very stubborn, and it would take a very good argument from an anti- death penalty advocate to change my mind on whether or not the mentally disabled should be put to death.

  2. tarika1

    The claim for this article is to see both sides of an argument. The author notes how people change their opinions many times in the article. He even says when it is good to change your opinion when he states that if you change an opinion because someone else you like says it, you did not change it for a good reason. I thought his argument was not as persuasive as it was informative. He gave lots of information but he did not persuade with the information that he had.

  3. maddy

    The primary thesis of this article is that our opinions are constantly changing. The author writes of people differing their opinions concerning important issues. When it comes to important issues, Russell Blackford claims, our opinions pertaining to them are continually naturally evolving. Occasionally, these opinions of ours are quickly influenced. This can transpire through influence by the media, celebrities, movies, books, moving experiences, etcetera. It was mentioned how our opinions pertaining to important issues change a lot less frequently than our opinions pertaining to minor decisions. Blackford claims this to be so because minor decisions are far less complex and prudent than important issues.

    An interesting excerpt I noticed is how the article mentioned that pathos is a more appealing rhetoric than logos. “…the most effective ways of getting us to change often appeal more to our emotions than our reasoning faculties.” This is interesting because many regard logos to be the most essential, significant rhetorical appeal in an argument.

  4. alexo

    His claim throughout the article is in the title – why not? Why be so firm in a subject, and why not see the other side, just in case you may want to change? He talks about people that had changed their mind, trying to show the, or rather lack of, negative effects of switching opinions. The author wants you to consider the benefits of changing sides, but he, most of all, wants you to at least be open to it.

  5. ilyssal

    The author’s claim in writing this article is that it does not always hurt to change your mind on something. It can be beneficial to view something from an opposite standpoint occasionally, and you may change your mind because of it. This article was very informative, but I do not think he did a very good job at persuading his audience. His argument in this piece did not persuade me to keep a more open mind than I already try to keep.

  6. cameronl3

    The author’s claim states that the general majority of people are biased towards their beliefs or concerns toward specific topics, such as the example used in the article, pacifists. He explains how a pacifist, one who is against war, may put their beliefs into exception, and say it is right to go to war at the certain time, versus a career soldier, who may transform into a pacifist, after seeing the brutal events during war. The author states that we firmly stand towards specific opinions, not because of the evidence we have, but because we are biased. And it is also stated that when people turn their standpoint in the opposing view, without much reason, and often think that the changed point of view is the correct one, when that simply is not the case a lot of the time. The author did use lots of evidence to really exemplify how and why people change their opinions so much or so little. After reading this, there is a very large possibility that my view towards death penalty for the mentally challenged can change, but the same amount of chane it stays the same. To really look at the differences according to the article, I must look at it totally unbiased, as if I was bystander with no opinion towards either side.

  7. francescaa

    The claim in this article is that people can change their minds based on the circumstances. The author wrote about different scenarios of when people may change their minds on simple matters, or significant ones. One thing the author informed was that changing one’s mind isn’t always for the better because you could be influenced by something that happened in your life. ‘In other cases, a change of mind can be more sudden, perhaps triggered by an emotionally moving experience or a new item of vital information.” What the author is saying here is that a tragic event can change your perspective on issues. Now, one might think their change is for the better, but realistically there is no way of knowing. In my opinion, this article wasn’t too convincing because it wasn’t credible. The author seemed to be repeating himself, so no, I wasn’t fully pulled into the argument the author presented. As for would I change my mind about my position on the death penalty; there is a chance. I would say right now I am about an 8/10 on the pro- death penalty scale.However, I am willing to hear what people against the death penalty have to say but they must present me with a very good argument. As said in the video, with a good argument one can change their mind.

  8. arihantp1

    The main claim of the article is that people should be open to changing their opinion in an argument. The author uses the analogy of war and pacifism to convey his point, and how soldiers and pacifists opinions change based on their experiences. The author, however, was not persuasive. He constantly repeated himself by saying “change their mind” over and over again. He also didn’t provide much evidence to support his claims, which in turn did not persuade me to keep more of an open mind.

  9. ivanl

    The thesis of this article is that people should be more open-minded and try to see both sides of the argument, because they could possibly be persuaded to another side which would help us; avoiding the confirmation bias. The author explains how this is good, allowing us all to be more open-minded in general, and not only seeing one side to something. He suggests that people who aren’t open-minded, only take in information useful to them, and rationalize the rest away. This leads to the confirmation bias, where are our views come immediately from past experiences or emotions. The author used logos, but it didn’t really persuade my because I did not really understand the topic he used for his example, so I couldn’t relate. As for changing my mind, I would definitely be able to see both sides of the argument on capital punishment for the mentally disabled. Anyone would a good argument would be able to win me over, given I can already see both sides to it.

  10. avae1

    The purpose of writing this article was to encourage people to be open to changing their minds. The author explains how once a person’s mind is opened, they can better understand the scenario and the evidence given, this way they can later have a more informed opinion. Blackford states that as we get older we explore more, and understand more, therefore are much more subject to change of opinion. However the way in which one explores their options is not relevant. Whether they are doing it for their own intellectual reasons, or just copying someone they know, as long as they can understand both standpoints they will be more educated on the topic. I did not find this article to be exceptionally persuasive. I can understand the claims that he makes and he uses some examples and evidence, but I am not fully convinced to keep a completely open mind in every situation.

    1. christophert3

      Great job. I agree with all of the claims you made, but I myself believe it’s good to be open-minded in every situation, even if I am not myself.

  11. margauxc

    In Russell Blackford’s article, “Why Not Change Your Mind?”, he emphasizes that the only consistency in thought is change. Through minor use of the rhetorical appeal Logos, Blackford explains how easily perspective can alter once an individual endures a challenging circumstance. He uses the example of a soldier returning from war, who may desire to seek out pacifism after all he’s experienced. To further support his claim, Blackford lists other variations of why people could potentially change their opinion on matters of significance. He conveys his own opinions as well, stating that the majority of individuals whose thoughts are susceptible to influence from the media have ”intellectually weak reasons.”

    I, myself, am not necessarily convinced that Blackford’s argument was persuasive at all- seeing as it consisted of a limited amount of Logos- yet lacked any other rhetoric appeal. In regards towards my stance of capital punishment for the mentally disabled, I intend to firmly stick to my initial beliefs of death being an immoral, vile punishment for murder- seeing as two wrongs simply cannot make a right.

  12. Esha Pandya

    In the article, “Why Not Change Your Mind?”, Russell Blackford explains why a person might suddenly change their mind. He brings up how changing our minds about important topics happens as we grow. “…our ideas seem to develop naturally as we mature, see more of the world, and start to find our place in it.” By saying this, Blackford uses pathos, stating how knowing more about the world around us can further our knowledge about what we think is important. If we learn something that was different to what we thought as a less mature being, our ideas might change. This happens by expanding on old ideas while applying new ideas to what we already know. Should the two ideas contradict each other, the one where we have more knowledge appears to be right.

    Another interesting idea brought up was how we resist accepting new ideas that aren’t our own. “…we all tend to cling too strongly to whatever views we started with, welcoming evidence that favors them while happily rationalizing away evidence to the contrary.” If we come up with an idea ourselves, there is more of a chance we will accept our idea, since we tend to trust our knowledge more than others. Having said that, should another person try to convince you to look at the other side of things, you would most likely deny it. Whatever we think always seems to be right, and not what others think, even if they may be right. Sometimes, we don’t want to give in to another person’s idea too quickly without defending our own point.

    After reading this article, there wasn’t enough information to convince me to change my mind. Blackford did provide plenty of different scenarios that are applicable to world, using pathos to try to convince us. However, there was a lack of logos and ethos. There were little or no facts that could be proved right away, or facts that could be defended by other sources. Furthermore, the article did not give examples that included people, failing to deliver us a clear example of ethos.

  13. Rebecca F

    The claim for this article is that people should be open to changing their mind. Blackford talks about how as a person grows up and learns more about their world, their opinions and values may change, leading to a change of mind. Blackford also talks about how people tend to stubbornly cling to their opinion, refusing to listen to a different opinion. Blackford uses logos when presenting these facts, logically explaining the reasons for which a person changes their mind.
    Although I am stubborn, I would be open to change my views on capital punishment for the mentally disabled if the evidence presented was logical and had enough emotional sway to change my take on the topic.

  14. charlottes

    The claim of “Why Not Change Your Mind” is that people should be open to changing their mind. Society should be able to alter their opinion. In the article, the author uses a lot of ethos and logos. He supports his thesis with evidence of past events where people have changed their minds. He states people should try to be more open minded and hear the other side’s opinion before you make a firm decision. As much as he uses logos and ethos, he has his canvassers use pathos. For example, when the canvasser was talking to the voter about abortion, she told her own story about getting an abortion which changed the voter’s opinion. She was at a 0 at first, but after hearing the canvassers sad story, she was up to a 10. The author of this article was very smart to help people change their minds.

  15. marinas1

    In the article “Why Not Change Your Mind?”, author Russel Blackford talks about how people are capable of altering their perceptions on ideas and other concepts in the world. He supports this idea by writing about how people change their stands on certain topics as they go about their lives, or simply by having a mind-altering experience. One interesting thing he goes on to talk about is how while one might change their mind in one direction, someone else may be changing their beliefs in the direction the first person started in. This means that, in a way, no one is truly correct, for everyone keeps altering their thoughts and beliefs in different directions, thusly performing an ongoing cycle of right versus wrong. Later in the text, Blackford yet again brings up an incredibly riveting idea. Blackford states “On the contrary, we all tend to cling too strongly to whatever views we started with, welcoming evidence that favours them while happily rationalising away evidence to the contrary. This the well-known confirmation bias, one of the many cognitive biases and potentially misleading mental shortcuts studied by psychologists. The bias is stronger when our initial views are emotionally important to us or part of our self-conception.” This quote demonstrates that many reject opposite ideas unconsciously, as a way to confirm that their own initial ideas are correct. With confirmation bias in place, no one can ever truly alter their perception of certain ideas, for they are not even taking opposing ideas into account.

    Blackford uses a lot of pathos in his argument, bringing up relatable ideas and motifs in his article. Although the article is very well written, his argument is not entirely persuasive, for he is not credible in any way. No where in the article does it say that he is a psychologist. Due to this, one can safely assume he is but a mere journalist, credible be no means. In addition, he uses very little logos in an article that should arguably have more statistics in it than relatability.

    After some contemplation, I would have to say that I would be open to rethinking my view on the death penalty against mentally disabled individuals. However, I would have to be provided a great amount of evidence from the opposing side to be convinced.

  16. christophert3

    The main idea of the article is that we shouldn’t be stuck to believing one thing, but be open-minded and be willing to change our beliefs. But another important idea given by the article is that there are many ways that one can decide to change his or her mind. But the only way that allows you to come closer to the truth is that you don’t change your mind for “an intellectually weak reason”, but change our minds because research and evidence that one finds causes him or her to change his or her mind. Such reasons that would be intellectually weak are changing your mind because someone else did and you think they are right or you admire them. Without finding the evidence to decide to change your mind for yourself, you won’t get any closer to the truth.

  17. sofiad1

    The claim of this article is that everyone should be open to changing their opinions. The author uses changing opinions of pacifism against war to showcase his point. He was very persuasive ad showed how open-mindedness is better than being closed off and closed-minded.

  18. laurena2

    The main purpose of their article was for the author to try to convince people to change their minds. He uses lots of logos to support his point, however he constantly repeats himself over and over again. He wants all readers to look at the opposite side of their opinion and be open minded. Although the author constantly repeats his claim, this article was not very persuasive. He is uses lots of information, but does not back it up with an explanation. He didn’t pull me in, which resulted in an article that wasn’t as persuasive as it could’ve been.

  19. Toa Neil

    The article’s claim is that everyone should keep an open mind to other ideas. He depicts his opinion through ideas in history changing. His points were pretty good but I still am unswayed from most of my views.

  20. briannag3

    The claim that was shown throughout the article was the title- Why not change your mind? He is very persuasive when showing how having an open mind is better than being too stubborn to look at the other side of things. Logos is used to support his claims which makes his argument very fact orientated. He also explains how someone can change their mind for a number of different reasons.

  21. Tyler Newby

    The claim in this article is that people with very strong or biased opinions should keep more of an open mind. The author of this article constantly repeats himself about changing one’s mind, but does not provide much explanation for what he says. The author of this article has the right idea, but did not portray it well enough to convince someone with an opposing opinion.

  22. George

    The claim of the article “Why not change your mind” is that all people should be open to changing their minds. the author uses logos to provide evidence on why it’s a great idea to be open minded for life. He states that the world would be a better place if everyone was open minded

  23. adam

    The theme of this article is all about opinion, and the right and entitlement to change ones mind. That every single person should be able to view numerous sides of an argument. One should be able to alter their opinion, and be open minded to any proposals, and consider anything reasonable . As one intellectually grows or changes, so may ones opinion and that may be accepted. Nobody should close off any ideas from consideration for acceptance. Although this maybe a bit far fetched, this article reminds me of Donald Trump. Not that I am against him, but he makes debatable and controversial decisions. Anyone should be able to vieew both sides and understand views from all perspectives.

  24. willowm

    In the article “Why not change your mind” the author claims that everyone should be open to changing their mind. He uses logos and repetition to support his point. I believe his article provided lots of information, but was not very persuasive.

  25. alekhya

    The theme of this article is that when one makes a decision or chooses a side they should be open to all ideas and should not let confirmation bias cloud their judgement. Russell Blackford claims that that opening our minds to evidence and arguments against our current ideas can be potentially useful. After reading this article I thought about my position in the case of capital punishment and I thought about the other’s sides arguments and thoughts trying to contradict my own stand. Blackford also talks about people holding onto their idea steadfastly and not be willing to consider the other side. Occasionally when I am arguing with my parents I step outside of the argument and notice how they present an argument but do not back it up and don’t consider my view; it sometimes really funny to see how silly their argument is. In this article Russell Blackford claims that one should keep their mind opinion for contradicting information that can help you mature intellectually and clear away your confirmation bias.


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