Why not change your mind?

Before Monday, please read the article entitled, “Why not change your mind” from The New Philosopher and then respond here.  (You can click on the title to read the article or you can read the paper copy I will hand out Friday.)  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.

This blog is not due until Monday 6/11/18.

OMM blog #10

25 thoughts on “Why not change your mind?

  1. In the article entitled, “Why not change your mind” from The New Philosopher, the claim is that people change their minds over many things including the things that we find was once really important to us. I think that sometimes changes can be good because it allows you to restart or try something new that you might like. However, I also think that when I am really passionate about something, I won’t change my mind easily. If I was to change my mind, it will take a long time. This might be my stubbornness but honestly, when I think something is important, I try to defend it as much as a can. In the article it said that we change important things because, “often, our ideas seem to develop naturally as we mature, see more of the world, and start to find our place in it.” On one hand I do think this is true because as a kid we see things the way we are raised but as an adult we start to find our new ways and change our mind. Also, you might think that an upcoming test is really important but in 14 years it won’t even look that way. On the other hand, I think that if it really is important to you, you wouldn’t change it. Going back to the test, it means that the test wasn’t so important to you. Say you’re really passionate about something and it isn’t just a phase, I think you will remember it and won’t be able to completely change your mind. What I’m trying to say is that you can be in the middle of two decisions or even lean toward one side, but I think that you can’t completely forget about the other side. Anyways, the author mentions some examples such as, a previous pacifist becoming interested in war. Again I don’t think this can happen that quickly! Moving on, while trying to persuade me to be more open and realize that things that are important to you now can change, the author didn’t really use the rhetorical appeals. I think this made his claim less exciting and less interesting. Going back to what I was saying before about making up my mind and being passionate, I don’t think that I will change my mind about the capital punishment. If I was to do so, I think it means that this topic isn’t something that I find is super important to me but instead something that I think about.

    • I get that you don’t want to change your mind on the capital punishment. Sometimes we just have to take a firm stand in what we believe. But I think the author is trying to tell us that we should still try to see the other side, because often silly things get in the way of realizing the truth. Anyways, great job Noy.

  2. The New Philosopher’s article “Why not change your mind?” states that we frequently change our minds. We change our minds on trivial matters, and also on more important ones. The author claims that there are numerous obstacles that prevent us from legitimately seeing the other side of things. We sometimes only change our minds for “intellectually weak reasons.” For instance, we may change our mind simply because the idea is more comforting, or perhaps you push the concept away because of some sort of anger. Or maybe your opinion was only swayed because of a celebrity had the opposing view. These would be weak reasons to change your mind. When this occurs, we aren’t actually changing our minds, we’re being influenced by something else that makes us want to believe something we don’t. On the other hand, sometimes the opposite occurs. According to the confirmation bias, we tend to wholeheartedly accept information that suits our perspective, but reject evidence that doesn’t. I agree with the author. We really do seem to change not only our opinions, but ourselves for feeble or irrational motives. Considering the death penalty debate, I’m open to changing my mind. I’m willing to somehow believe that capital punishment is okay for the mentally disabled, but that will only happen if I’m given substantial support against me.

    • Great job! I see how you need substantial support against you to change your mind but I still think that even after you switch, you won’t forget about the other side. What I’m trying to say is how when you change your mind from something you once firmly believed in, you won’t be able to just forget about the points you once agreed with. I think you will still have moments or points in which you still agree with even though you switched the general side. Anyways, keep up the great work!

  3. After reading the article Why Not Change Your Mind? by Russell Blackford, I noticed him make some very intriguing points about looking at a situation differently than you did before. This will help you see the other side to stories and how other people’s ideas affects their perspective in every aspect of thinking. In his article, he made the point that people change their minds all the time, and that happens especially due to their surroundings. He stated, “For example, a pacifist might find that she agrees with her country’s involvement in a particular war…” this shows that this girl could be a pacifist her entire life and agree with those morals but during a certain time or in this case a war, be thankful or happy about the work that the government is doing. This entire time with our debate project and learning about Atkins v. Virginia and cases like it, I have been trying to decide what side I am on. Although, I can overall figure out where I stand, there have been strong points and ideas made by the other side to make me see how they could be correct or at least justified. One point he made that was very interesting and got to me, especially because of our work lately is when he mentioned to “imagine how the evidence and the logic of the arguments would strike a rational bystander who does not already accept them but is not resistant to them merely because of confirmation bias or emotional discomfort.” This stood out to me because it is basically what we have been studying throughout the entirety of this project. Every piece of evidence we have found and point we have made was in order to take away a lot of the emotional portion and talk about the hard facts and the law. I had a conversation with Remy the other day, about how in order to make our points strong and the truth in order to hit home because if you involve too much emotion, you’ll seem weaker and easily swayed because you pity the person at hand. It is a hard task but one that judges have to on the daily and one that really makes your side’s argument stronger. I really agree with the points that were made in this article and with time, I can see how I would understand being able to change my mind on the argument of capital punishment for the mentally disabled.

    • I enjoyed reading your blog. I like how you tied together this article with what we have been working on in class, especially when you talk about the bystander. Furthermore, it is nice that, even though you didn’t change sides, you at least listened and understood the reason behind some of the points they made. I disagree with your points on emotion. Emotion is a valuable tool for persuasion, instead of making you seem weak, it makes you seem empathetic.

  4. After reading “Why not change your mind,” I saw my opinions in a new way. I realized that I have been doing precisely what the article warns you about. While I haven’t changed my mind, I now see that I had confirmation bias. I was ignoring all evidence contrary to my belief by saying to myself, “this evidence is coming from selfish individuals.” Even though I haven’t changed my mind, I am still open to switching views. I like to think of myself as a logical person. For someone to convince me to change sides, they would need a combination of statistics to support their view, valid counter-arguments to my claims, and a statement showing why their opinion is a logical claim. Even though the blog inquiry is about the article, I would like to talk about the podcast. For those who haven’t listened yet to the podcast, it was broken into three sections. The first was about trying to convince people to change their minds on modern issues including abortion and gay marriage. The second section was on criminals changing their ways. Finally, the third segment was on a teenager accepting her fate after moving from “paradise” to the bleak wastelands of Alaska. In the first section, I was surprised at how deeply people were moved by personal stories. Apparently, pathos is extremely convincing. One interviewee didn’t believe at all in abortion (it went against her religion) but, after talking to someone who had an abortion, the interviewee supportive of abortions.
    The second segment surprised me again. By making criminals create goals and paying them as a reward for following those goals, 80% of criminals in the study stopped performing criminal acts. While those statistics are surprising, what amazed me most was how similar this situation was to our debate on the mentally diminished. Some people argued that, since the mentally declined are a burden on society, executing them is the most efficient and cheap solution. These criminals were a burden on society, and to prevent future actions by these criminals, instead of killing them, the police in this community gave them money to improve their lives; and it worked. Maybe instead of murdering the mentally retarded, we could spend money on them to better; not only society as a whole but their lives also.
    The third portion was one of my nightmares in real life. The story begins with a high school senior named Selena living in the lush green islands of American Samoa. She lives right on the water and has many friends. Then, one day, her dad decides to move to Alaska to set up a church. Her family sells everything and travels from a tropical vacation to a small rainy town in Alaska. The entire village there lives in one building; instead of the beautiful outdoors Selena was used to, in Alaska, everything happened indoors. Eventually, Selena accepts the sad reality she lives in with the help of a newfound friend and ultimately goes on to enjoy living in Alaska. This section of the podcast made me realize the importance of sometimes changing your mind. If Selena didn’t change her mind about Alaska, she would have been gloomy and depressed; instead, she is now happy. I enjoyed listening to the podcast and hope to hear more “This American Life” podcast in the future.

  5. In the article from The New Philosopher, titled “Why not change your mind?” the author points out many reasons why or why not people change their minds and how it happens. The main claim here is the fact that in regards to opinion, nothing is set in stone. Your mind can change based on certain factors. The choices can be big, serious issues or little, everyday things. Many things can change our minds, for instance as we mature, we can switch sides on something because we see it in a different light. However, people can also shift beliefs based on “intellectually weak” reasons. Maybe a person you looked up to took that side? It also brings up something known as the confirmation bias, which states that any evidence for your case is perceived as true, while any evidence against it is automatically false because it doesn’t fit your narrative. Overall, I find this article to be truthful. Besides examples, it didn’t really use evidence, and instead used rational explanations. I agree with the points the author made, because the article was clear and easy to read. I also think the article helped me with understanding the process of a debate and its purpose. In a way, many debates we conducted in class often used the confirmation bias, but people still tried to prove their point. Due to this article, I can see why a person would choose the anti-death penalty. At first I took a stand in the middle specifically because I didn’t like the ruling, but my opinion shifted to pro after debating and discussing with others. For this reason, I would say I’m not going to switch my views on the topic. I started in the middle, yet over time I shifted to what I truly believe. To add on to the fact, I feel that switching would make it seem like the issue wasn’t firmly important to me. As I write this blog, I don’t see me changing my mind in the future and see myself still as pro death penalty.

    • I find your idea of not changing your mind showing how important it is to you. I actually feel like it might be the opposite way because if you care enough about a topic you will think about it more and maybe change your mind, but I’m note sure. Your idea makes sense too so I really don’t know.

  6. The article “Why Not Change Your Mind?” by Russell Blackford, talks about how we change our minds on so many topics daily. He talks about the small changes that come effortlessly to us and our larger ideas that are sometimes swayed. Blackford made some interesting points about why we change our minds. He says that our ideas develop as we mature, or they can be triggered by a sudden event such as a deep novel that can change your views on a topic. One point that Blackford made that I found interesting was the fact that one thing can change your ideas, but how it changes them is what decides if it is a change for the better or not. For example, if a celebrity comes out about their views on society and you just agree with them because you think they are intelligent, that is not good. But, if you change your ideas because you listen to what they say and the facts sway your decisions, then that could be good. I found this interesting because so many people change their views based on what famous people say, and I personally just assumed that was bad. I never thought that a celebrity could raise awareness and then people do research and change their views. One thing that I found that was flawed in Blackford’s argument was that he didn’t really talk about how long it could take to change someone’s mind, only about how quickly it could happen. This left room for the argument that important ideas aren’t changed very quickly and easily, as Noy talked about in her blog. I feel like I am open to my mind being changed, as long as there is sufficient evidence to change it. One thing that I wanted to add about evidence from personal experience, is that different points carry more or less weight. Just because there may be more evidence against something, if there is one good point for a topic, then my mind can be changed. This can also vary from person to person. Everyone has different experiences that can affect their views, affecting what carries more weight in their mind. I think that my mind can be changed on the topic of capital punishment as it could with any other topic. If I see sufficient evidence to change my mind, then I will. Although I may see something as sufficient evidence, someone else may not which I find interesting.

  7. In the article entitled, “Why not change your mind” from The New Philosopher, there are many interesting and significant topics. The article explains why people change their minds, and that every thought or opinion you may have is subject to change. The decisions can be very serious or simply based on your everyday life. There are many things that can cause this change of heart at any time. Among these factors are maturity, and just influence/bias, which can change your perceptions on a topic. For example, as we mature we see the world differently and understand things that we previously did not. Also, we are bias and influenced by the people who are closest to us. Therefore, this article is very accurate and correctly explains a change in perspective for people. Personally, I enjoyed reading this simplistic and informational article on changing your mind. Despite reading this article, my opinion towards the death penalty still stands. I still agree that the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment that should be administered. I’ve believed this since we started arguing, and continue to stick with it. However, it is very possible that I may change my mind later on, depending on the factors listed in the article.

  8. In the article, “Why not change your mind” from The New Philosopher, the argument made is that people easily change their positions on a subject based on weak intellectual ideas. In many ways, the author is correct. One example given to support this claim is, “Perhaps you’ve gone from being a pacifist to thinking some wars are morally justified, yet you see another person – someone who appears intelligent, well-informed, and sensitive to life’s complexities – becoming a pacifist who rejects any justification for war. ” When a person first starts off having one view, their views typically become more sophisticated as that individual learns more about the world as time goes on. Although that individual thinks he is learning more when having more sophisticated views, he is not getting closer to finding the true meaning of the subject. For instance, war is a controversial idea. It solves problems but is it the right way to resolve the issues. Also, the class debate is similar to this idea. Whoever chose the pro-death penalty side of the debate had a different bias than whoever chose the bias of the con-death penalty side. Either way, it does not lead us to what is 100 percent true. As human beings, we tend to reject any information that is against our beliefs. Although I would remain as a pro-death penalty person, the article helps me realize that I should consider both sides of the debate more.

    • Great blog! I agree with how you said that as human beings, we more often than not reject any beliefs that are opposite and different from our own. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  9. The article from The New Philosopher “Why not change your mind?” talks about … well, changing you mind. It says that people often reconsider the little things, like our plans for the evening. But occasionally, something really rare happens, when we change our minds about the bigger problems. However, many times people are too stubborn to realize that there might be another acceptable side to the issue. Moreover, even when presented with logical evidence disproving one’s point, one often regards this evidence as unimportant or inconclusive, or simply ignores it. This is called “confirmation bias.” People just hate being wrong. That is why, for some people, the best way to appeal to someone might not be through intellectual reasoning, but through his/her emotions. I agree with the points presented in the article. People generally don’t like to change their minds, and don’t like to have their minds changed. And the best way to develop your personal views on a situation is to counteract your confirmation bias. Hear out the opposing evidence, and take both sides into consideration.

    Honestly, I probably wouldn’t change my mind about the execution of the mentally retarded. I would probably remain con-death penalty. However, I feel that if I was presented with enough evidence, I might change. When we were having the debate in class and Matt presented his counter-arguments, I’ll admit that it made me second guess my opinion. So perhaps, in the future, my views on the death penalty situation will change.

  10. Over the weekends we were supposed to read Why not change your mind? by New Philosopher. Russell Blackford, the person who wrote the article, was writing about how people can change their minds, and how it can be beneficial to do so. Changing your mind makes you see the world in a different perspective; one that you didn’t see before. Blackford stated that it can be both a good and bad thing to change your mind. Just because you changed your mind does not mean that your new viewpoint is better or more correct than the one you had before. One of Blackford’s big points was that you have to have a good reason to change your mind. “If I change my mind in order to be more like someone I admire, that is an intellectually weak reason.” But if your reason to change is a good one, then you are welcome to do so. I found that his article was a little bit confusing. I do agree with him on the fact that changing your mind can be beneficial. I would not consider changing my mind on this debate. A criminal is a criminal, and should be punished accordingly.

  11. I enjoyed reading this article because it presented points that are related to my life, but I never really acknowledge or notice. There was never really a point in my life where I had to make a huge decision, after all, I’m only 14. However, there is going to be a part of my life where I am going to have to make really hard decisions, and this article provides information to what changing your mind is. One point that stood out was how most people don’t change their minds. I completely agree. I never really change my mind, I fight for what I believe is right. Just like the article said, I am pretty stubborn and ignore information that may contradict my decisions. Most people listen to what supports their claims, and ignores the points that go against what they believe in. While persuading, I think a more emotional approach is better. Because most people ignore information, we can appeal to people’s feelings, rather than stating facts and information. This way, more people will begin to understand, and change their minds. I think being able to change your mind is an important skill. It means that you are able to view the problem or decisions from all different points, and it can help in decision making. I can see what the pro capital punishments are saying, and I’m not gonna lie, they have good points. However, I do not think I will change my mind. I strongly believe that capital punishment is wrong in many ways, and frankly, doing the debate only made me believe it more.

  12. After reading “Why not change your mind” from The New Philosopher, I was genuinely confused on what the message or point was. I read paragraphs 2-4 and I was lost. Basically, you developing your opinion to reach a correct idea can actually make you further from reaching that concept. He later said that there is a possibility that you’re right, but you should ask someone without bias to know that. Ok, I’m starting to understand what’s being said. But still, what’s the point? I understand that I need to be educated when I make decisions. I 100% agree with that statement. But why tell me that even if I’m educated, I could still be wrong or end up even more wrong than before? This is where I almost gave up, saying to myself “If I’m still wrong, what’s the point?”.

    After reading the article a second time, I realized that being wrong was the entire point of the article. The author claims that even if you develop an educated standpoint, you can still be wrong. Even the geniuses were wrong at times. However, the smartest people in the room are always the best listeners. They take in the most information, develop their opinions, think before they speak/act, and therefor make the best choice. It’s not magic, it’s a process. As the saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

    The point of this article is to leave people open minded. You should always be open to hearing other sides and accept that you can be wrong at times. Once you close your mind off and refuse to listen to others, you only cripple your own ability to develop the most educated and correct view. And honestly, it’s the truth. I know myself to be a close minded person. Therefore, I am very hard to persuade and I tend to develop strong opinions. However, when I forced myself to listen to other views during the debates, I found myself learning so much more than I was previously. The argument wasn’t a clear cut right or wrong. It was an argument of what is correct socially versus logically. Logically, murder is murder. Socially, we should be compassionate and understand handicaps that others suffer.

    With that being said, I still believe strongly in my opinion on capital punishment. Murder is murder, regardless of who commits it. Justice should be held in all cases, without allowing our government to choose which specific groups can avoid certain punishments.

  13. The article above discusses why people change their minds. Based on small trivia, or huge world events, our own opinions and thoughts matter. Especially today, it is so important to respect each other’s opinions and truly hear the other side. When choosing a side, having basic knowledge of that idea is crucial. The author tries to relate to the reader by applying real situations that our own opinions can be applied. Personally, I think that I am very open minded, and very easily swayed. When its something I’ve been taught, but someone tries to change that lesson I am more flexible. However, when I form my own opinion, I find it harder to be swayed. Which was another main part of the article. The first step to being open minded is accepting that your opinion isn’t the only one that exists or is right and that not everyone will agree with you. In fact, your opinion could be wrong based on the false facts that you used. So in terms of our past assignment, I certainly have reconsidered my side of the argument. The way the other side spoke, and cleanly presented their side really expanded my own thoughts and ideas. This assignments has truly affected me and my own thinking. Being able to listen to other people’s side, and to truly gather facts and form my own thoughts on a political topic is a skill I will carry with me forever.

  14. This article by the new philosopher features a claim that changing one’s mind has both positives and negatives. One could possibly create even further conflict, if both sides of an issue were to switch to the opposite side, then you would be left with no less of a debate, with no one side coming closer to consensus. At the same time, the changing opinions might give one a more confident sense of support for their side. With this stronger sense of “Belonging” to one’s side, the possibility of stronger evidence being found and used is higher, thus creating more convincing arguments. The Evidence used in this article is the idea of Pacifism, and the Author uses this in a plethora of different ways, such as to demonstrate how changing one’s mind for less valid reasons .could be both a bad thing and a good thing. This as a whole leads me to see that the purpose of this rather persuasive argument is to begin a process of change in order to increase the quality of one’s judgment as a whole. This article’s goal is to begin the change of one’s mindset from fixed to that of a more fluid belief system, with safeguards to steady rational arguments.

  15. The article that we were assigned to read addresses what causes us to change our minds. In the article the writer suggests that changing our kind is something very natural. As we mature and grow as people, and have new experiences the way we see the world will change over time. The writer also suggests that as our opinions develop and change we start to think less of our old opinions simply because we developed them when we were younger. The authors main goal is to enlight is on how to form strong opinions and how to understand what we believe and why we believe these things.
    What I took away from this article was that as we get older we start to reject some ideas and refuse to see the other side and accept evidence that goes against our beliefs. Also as we get older we refuse to believe any of our opinions from our younger age have any merit. But that isn’t true there is merit to every single opinion. There is a reason to why every person believes what they believe, and we should take the time to understand other’s reasoning. There is also no way to guarantee if our opinions are “right”, but this article made me understand that there is not opinion that is correct. No opinion is unjustifiable and that no matter how much we grow and change and research and support our opinions and theories about the world, we will always still be wrong in someone else’s eyes.
    The author is trying to teach us that we should never try to stop learning, we shouldn’t settle and we should actively seek answers and continue to educate ourselves.
    Changing your mind allows you to see a multitude of perspectives and see the world in ways you hadn’t thought about before. Personally, I don’t think I’ll be changing my opinion on the death penalty for mentally disabled people any time soon. It’s a stance that I’ve had to research extensively so I think I won’t be switching sides in the near future because I have seen both sides quite a bit. But who knows? Maybe in the future I will switch sides, but it’s most importantly to be open to change and open to new ideas.

  16. In this article, Russell Blackford discussed how people change their minds. He talks of how easily we change our minds on small matters, but not on big matters. He says how we tend to stick onto one opinion, and starts to use confirmation bias with their decisions. He says that whatever opinion you have, there is no way to be sure that it is the truth. He also says that we should be more open to changing our minds, and to counteract any confirmation bias. In my opinion, I think that his statements are persuasive. He gives rhetorical appeals, and speaks of several scenarios that support his case. As to if I were to consider changing your mind about capital punishment for the mentally disabled, I am open to change my mind depending on the facts given. In fact, while working on the debate, I still thought that the death penalty is okay for the mentally disabled, but after giving the other side some deep thought, I changed my mind, as it is kind of cruel to kill someone who cannot even defend themselves.

  17. This article’s main goal is to get readers to think about why they support one thing and not the other. What is their motivation to stick to one side of an argument? It’s trying to get readers to think about the possibility of changing their mind, and if they even truly support the side they’re on already. “As with most things worth thinking about, there are complications on complications. Even bad reasons to change our minds may not always be completely bad! If I change my mind in order to be more like someone I admire, that is an intellectually weak reason. What, however, if the surprise of finding that someone I admire takes a particular position that I reject – pacifism, let’s say – makes me feel more open to exploring the actual evidence? That is, it might help me overcome my confirmation bias and treat the evidence against my existing position more fairly. This seems fine, as long as it’s the evidence and arguments that eventually sway me.” The author talks about people’s reasoning behind supporting a topic, and whether it is because of logical evidence or because of a weaker reason, like someone you admire supporting it as well. This is very interesting to me, because I’ve found that as I get older, I’m starting to actually notice my reasoning behind topics I have an opinion on. We’re all getting to the age where we have more of the ability to form opinions and act on them, instead of just going along with whatever our parents have taught us or what’s happening around us. There are definitely some valid factors that come from your external surroundings, like whether you have experienced something first hand or know someone else who has, or live in an area that deals with a topic often. However, I think this article is telling readers to recognize and acknowledge those factors as valid or invalid, based on what is motivating them.

  18. In the article we have read the author expresses how everyone should keep an open mind to different peoples opinion. Also he expresses how peoples opinions can change easily and can change all the time. Its all dependent on the type of Scenario the person is in. The opinion of a person can also come with age, since people are more mature and have lived through many more experiences as they grow older. This article really did make me reconsider my own opinion. Although I still strongly believe in my opinion, I could totally see how someone could think differently. The opinions of the opposition were clear and well thought out. Also they seemed to be a little persuasive as well. Overall no ones opinion is completely right. One could believe something so strongly but yet be guided by false information. One has to see things in different perspectives in order to form their own opinion. There is not only two opinions on every topic. People can form a whole variety of opinion. Clearly this article was trying to tell us to take a minute and think of things differently.

  19. I really like the thsis and claim stated by the author in this article. You can always change your mind, nothing is set in stone! I do believe the article is persuasive, but I don’t think I will change my perspective on the mentally disabled criminals. J tend to be stubborn. But, when it comes to things like death, killing a life just because it doesn’t fully comprehend the strength of it’s actions is quite strong. But you can always argue for the other side. All in all, I found this article incredibly interesting!

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