Challenging Assumptions (2016-2017)

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman writes that research “reveals two important facts about our minds: we can be blind to the obvious, and we can be blind to our blindness.” That’s a scary thought. The good news is that when we apply rigorous examination to what we see, hear or read, we can expose those blind spots. That’s, really, the purpose of a liberal arts education, in which students learn various ways to “discipline” their thinking. But we can also apply these habits of mind to everyday thinking. We can examine closely even our most certain assumptions. Objectively, without bias, we can apply steady, careful algorithms that test what we what we normally assume about people, situations, and even ourselves. This year’s speakers will speak to the power of this ability, which we all possess, and they will speak to the importance of applying it often to discover the truth behind what we’re told and, most dangerously, what we unquestioningly tell ourselves.