Author Topic: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?  (Read 1219 times)

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Offline hollow-man

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Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« on: August 25, 2012, 09:33:26 AM »
I know there is a formal (maybe even well-known) fallacy for this, but I can't think of it off-hand ... so I'll describe it ...
As humans, we are time-limited for all sorts of important/evolutionary reasons. So when it comes to DECISION-making, we have to come to some sort of BELIEVABLE(to ourselves, anyway!) conclusion (right or wrong it may REALLY be, we will henceforth believe (in) it, and defend it.... until we are VERY CONVINCINGLY proved otherwise; and the decision-overturn effort [expended by others] is perhaps over-significant).

I'm pretty sure there is a "canned", maybe even well-known fallacy for this (and I may've even seen it somewhere before) -- so what is it?

BTW: It's not:
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/hasty-generalization.html

Thx!
« Last Edit: August 25, 2012, 09:59:15 AM by hollow-man »

Offline Moloch

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2012, 10:31:54 AM »
I just have to say that your over use of brackets makes your post a pain to read. You have brackets within brackets, and brackets that are entire sentences.

As to your question, your saying there is a fallacy of defending the first thing that comes to mind? That's sounds to me more like a heuristic, specifically the availability heuristic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_heuristic
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The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that uses the ease with which examples come to mind to make judgments about the probability of events. The availability heuristic operates on the notion that "if you can think of it, it must be important."

Offline hollow-man

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2012, 11:56:13 AM »
I just have to say that your over use of brackets makes your post a pain to read. You have brackets within brackets, and brackets that are entire sentences.

Sorry if you can't keep up with nested-clause-based communication ... That's just the way we extraterrestrials communicate.

Quote
As to your question, your [sic!] saying there is a fallacy of defending the first thing that comes to mind? That's sounds to me more like a heuristic, specifically the availability heuristic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_heuristic
Quote
The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that uses the ease with which examples come to mind to make judgments about the probability of events. The availability heuristic operates on the notion that "if you can think of it, it must be important."

Yes and No. It may be a heuristic, but not necess. "Availability". The key point was (if it wasn't clear [apologies to for waste-of-BW (bandwidth) for whom it was clear]) that it be a final decision. And that finality, in effect,  locks it in with strong psychological glue.
There may not indeed be a formal definition (wiki, etc.)  for this type of heuristic.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2012, 12:04:27 PM by hollow-man »

Offline jt512

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2012, 01:25:27 PM »
I know there is a formal (maybe even well-known) fallacy for this, but I can't think of it off-hand ... so I'll describe it ...
As humans, we are time-limited for all sorts of important/evolutionary reasons. So when it comes to DECISION-making, we have to come to some sort of BELIEVABLE(to ourselves, anyway!) conclusion (right or wrong it may REALLY be, we will henceforth believe (in) it, and defend it.... until we are VERY CONVINCINGLY proved otherwise; and the decision-overturn effort [expended by others] is perhaps over-significant).

I'm pretty sure there is a "canned", maybe even well-known fallacy for this (and I may've even seen it somewhere before) -- so what is it?

BTW: It's not:
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/hasty-generalization.html

Thx!

At some point you have to stop data collection and make the best decision you can with the information you've got.  Otherwise, you'd never make any decisions about anything.  Sometimes you'll make the wrong decision, and if you ignore new information that indicates that your decision is wrong, that's called confirmation bias.

Jay

Offline hollow-man

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2012, 05:52:20 AM »
I know there is a formal (maybe even well-known) fallacy for this, but I can't think of it off-hand
Well, I think I was mistaken in stating self-assuredly: "I know there is a formal (maybe even well-known) fallacy for this...". In fact, my confabulation in making this statement may indeed be attributable to the fallacy (bias) in question.
Unfortunately, none of the replies -- nor my own private research -- has turned up any further/important info on the topic.
By all means, I'm not concluding this phenomenon has not been prev. studied or investigated. Maybe I need to apply better-related keywords or phrases for the query.

Offline Redamare

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 12:14:37 AM »
I don't think what you're describing actually exists, and here's why:

When we have paused or concluded our deliberations about an issue, or level of certainty regarding the outcome can fall anywhere on a continuum, from firm belief to provisional supposition. Usually, the degree of certainty will be influenced by our own confidence in our deliberative process (Do we know what we're talking about in the first place?), the extent to which we feel our deliberation was satisfactorily completed (Did we or didn't consider all the aspects of the issue that we wanted to consider?), and our level of interest/investment in the issue (Do we really care what the answer is, anyway?).

This is an ideal model, of course, and there will be deviations from it, but those will tend to be attributable to other specific biases and heuristics, in any case.
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Offline DG

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 01:49:51 AM »
I think that the situation that you are talking about is 'need for closure'. It's not a logical fallacy as such just an observation that, at some point we just have to make a decision without "complete" information. The alternative is a form of paralysis (or procrastination).

It's not a logical fallacy, just a practical reality.

(for further information: this came up in a recent "Point of Inquiry" podcast)
"If you don't like the theory of evolution you should probably skip the practical".


Offline hollow-man

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2012, 07:01:16 AM »
I think that the situation that you are talking about is 'need for closure'. It's not a logical fallacy as such just an observation that, at some point we just have to make a decision without "complete" information. The alternative is a form of paralysis (or procrastination).
It's not a logical fallacy, just a practical reality.

Thx for that info. BTW... I did not use the term LOGICAL;  just "fallacy", and later added "bias" and heuristic.

Offline hollow-man

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 07:12:42 AM »
I don't think what you're describing actually exists, and here's why:

When we have paused or concluded our deliberations about an issue, or level of certainty regarding the outcome can fall anywhere on a continuum, from firm belief to provisional supposition. Usually, the degree of certainty will be influenced by our own confidence in our deliberative process (Do we know what we're talking about in the first place?), the extent to which we feel our deliberation was satisfactorily completed (Did we or didn't consider all the aspects of the issue that we wanted to consider?), and our level of interest/investment in the issue (Do we really care what the answer is, anyway?).

This is an ideal model, of course, and there will be deviations from it, but those will tend to be attributable to other specific biases and heuristics, in any case.
I think the ultimate (final) decisions we make is also "delimited" by evolutionary-statistically-significant environment (and and contained circumstances). Also, calories must me efficiently used (brain is largest calorie-consuming organ so heavy-thinking decision-making is limited by energy reserves).

I think final-decision/stopgap bias does exist, to some extent or another  -- whether or not it has been defined and/or researched. A somewhat similar phenomenon -- human over-confidence -- was only recently substantiated:
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/news-archive/news/2382/
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v477/n7364/full/nature10384.html

Likewise, a 'final-decision bias', as I've conjectured, may need similar research and scientific rigor to "prove".
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 08:10:49 AM by hollow-man »

Offline hollow-man

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2012, 08:17:57 AM »
I don't think what you're describing actually exists, and here's why:

When we have paused or concluded our deliberations about an issue, or level of certainty regarding the outcome can fall anywhere on a continuum, from firm belief to provisional supposition. Usually, the degree of certainty will be influenced by our own confidence in our deliberative process (Do we know what we're talking about in the first place?), the extent to which we feel our deliberation was satisfactorily completed (Did we or didn't consider all the aspects of the issue that we wanted to consider?), and our level of interest/investment in the issue (Do we really care what the answer is, anyway?).

This is an ideal model, of course, and there will be deviations from it, but those will tend to be attributable to other specific biases and heuristics, in any case.
I think the ultimate (final) decisions we make is also "delimited" by evolutionary-statistically-significant environment (and and contained circumstances).

Also, calories must be efficiently used (brain is largest calorie-consuming organ so heavy-thinking decision-making is limited by energy reserves, although this is likely a minor factor compared to avail time or issue-importance).

I think final-decision/stopgap bias does exist, to some extent or another  -- whether or not it has been defined and/or researched. A somewhat similar phenomenon -- human over-confidence -- was only recently substantiated:
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/news-archive/news/2382/
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v477/n7364/full/nature10384.html

Likewise, a 'final-decision bias', as I've conjectured, may need similar research and scientific rigor to "prove".
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 02:07:56 PM by hollow-man »

Offline MikeHz

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2012, 10:06:40 AM »
There's also the contrarian, who waits until someone else makes a statement and then immediately opposes it, I assume for recreational purposes.
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled." Mark Twain

Offline Anders

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2012, 10:21:26 AM »
Could be sunken-cost fallacy. "I spent a lot of time coming to this conclusion, so it must be right."
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” Charles Darwin

Offline hollow-man

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2012, 03:11:35 PM »
Could be sunken-cost fallacy. "I spent a lot of time coming to this conclusion, so it must be right."
In a way -- yes, this can be part of it. The "conclusion" may be partly (or significantly) a physical construct: I spent a lot of time building this rabbit trap (in this location) so things ARE (not: probably, maybe, sorta/kinda) optimal for securing dinner.
It's probably not REALISTICALLY optimal. But the non-philosophical, time-limited "caveman" needs something like a final-decision fallacy (heuristic) ... to avoid over-tweaking, over-optimizing, micromanaging. There was TV commercial with the line: "set it and forget it."

Offline Redamare

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2012, 07:29:01 PM »
That was Ron Popiel's rotisserie thingy, if I remember correctly.

I don't think that accurately reflects the experience we have of making decisions day-to-day.  For the most part, we are aware of the need to come to some kind of conclusion, even if it isn't perfect, and we do so consciously.  We don't need a hardwired impulse, nor do we particularly need to fall in love with our choices once we make them.

Hollow-man, what are you basing this on?  Is this something you half remember reading somewhere, or something you've observed in yourself or others, or what?
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Offline DG

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Re: Belief-in-final-decision fallacy?
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2012, 08:48:55 PM »
I think that the situation that you are talking about is 'need for closure'. It's not a logical fallacy as such just an observation that, at some point we just have to make a decision without "complete" information. The alternative is a form of paralysis (or procrastination).
It's not a logical fallacy, just a practical reality.

Thx for that info. BTW... I did not use the term LOGICAL;  just "fallacy", and later added "bias" and heuristic.

My bad. I've never encountered the phrase "formal (maybe even well-known) fallacy" in anything other than a logic discussion. Of course, what you are describing may well be an informal fallacy - where the logic is accurate, but the founding  premise is unjustified.

I think that I've gotten a little lost on what we are looking for:
A fallacy that describes the situation of an individual having come to a conclusion (on incomplete information) and then defending it as if it were an absoloute? And that a person trying to dig us out of our entrenched position would require much greater effort than was required to come to that conclusion at first instance?
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