The stronger we feel about something, the more likely our feelings are to influence and bias our reasoning


David Hume was a Scottish philosopher and public intellectual(opens in a new tab). He is called a philosopher’s philosopher. His popularity is probably based on his highly influential philosophical empiricism and scepticism. He underscored the importance of the psychological basis of human nature, which he studied extensively. Perpetrators of disinformation profited from his insights, but so can we.

In an article on EUvsDisinfo the following lines are of highest importance:

Hume warned(opens in a new tab) we should always be suspicious of the assumptions favoured by our passions. The stronger we feel about something, the more likely our feelings are to influence and bias our reasoning. On a personal level, this means we need to do more than involve a variety of sources, since we can always find reasons to dismiss evidence from the “other” side. At the very least, before critical thinking can emerge, we need introspection and to know our emotional positions.

Help is possible.

On a macro level, our democracies need not only media plurality, but perhaps even theatre, comedians, music, and spirituality to help us get to know and talk about our own deepest feelings and moral presumptions, so we can hopefully prevent disinformation from exploiting them.

Stirring up emotions is one of the strategies used by professional creators of disinformation, because they make their targets blind, often scared and cause them to spread the word without proper scepticism.

All we need to do to break this cycle is to take a deep breath whenever we are confronted by sensational and outraging new information or images and to first check the facts before we pass this information on. Thats it.

Read the full article here.

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