Term Paper: Rhetoric of Critical Thought Daniel

Pages: 5 (1437 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Many do not just dislike the taste of liver, they hate liver. This labeling of intensity though can be shown to cloud judgment also. Because a particular taste, smell, person, idea has been labeled with either a strong or weak intensity, it is likely to have that regardless the circumstance.

About this particular bias Kahneman says "Here we encounter a new aptitude of System I. An underlying scale of intensity allows matching across diverse dimensions. If crimes were colors, murder would be a deeper shade of red than theft" (94). He also says that this type of bias is common to people within the same "social milieu" (94). He means that people tend to flock with others who have similar social outlooks. The problem with this is that it is impossible to actually transfer these gradations across even similar subject matter, but people invariably do. The example for this is that an individual is told that a lady learned to read when she was four years old. Immediately the listener translates this into a guess about her IQ. Most likely, the person guessing about IQ would assume that it is higher than average. The issue here is that the two do not necessarily correlate, but System I is happy to think that they do and System II usually does not disagree. True critical thought about business or economic matters has to be free from such spurious grading because add causation or take it away where neither is justified.

Anchoring Effect

The principles that Kahneman outlined all have to do with preconceived notions that illogically bias people. This does not mean that the principles are correct every time, but they are so consistent that they have become very reliable predictors of behavior. This is also true of the anchoring effect.

People see reference points to something and it is difficult to let those points go even if they have no relation to the actual event. Kahneman uses the example that "If you were asked whether Ghandi was 114 years old when he died you will end up with a much higher estimate of his death than you would if the anchoring question referred to death at 35" (119). Basically if it is suggested that a some sample is probably going to be a certain number, then they will subconsciously gravitate toward that number in their own estimate. It is akin to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Given a probable point of reference, a person will use that to set their personal reference point.

Kahneman goes on to say that the main mechanism behind this phenomenon is the power of suggestion (122). This suggestion effect occurs no matter what the impetus. He says that studies have been done showing that people prefer words like sun and heat more when the temperature of a room is warm and words like ice and snow when a room is cold (123). The reason for this is that the System I mechanism is prone to read outside cues like this and interpret them along with the question asked or the situation given.

This can be related to a business situation by using the power of suggestion argument. Especially when the referent is set by someone in charge, most people will adhere closely to that even if it supposed to be an open discussion. An anchoring point can cause people to under or overestimate budgets and other business projections.


The entire book talks about bias and how these biases are formed and how they are able to confuse logic. People do not even realize that they are the victim of a bias, but they are ever-present. The reason seems to be that the two systems Kahneman identifies are working at cross purposes to defeat logic. System II would probably make good decisions by itself, but it is thwarted by System I and then gets "lazy" instead of counteracting the damage done by the gullible System I. The three biases described above are just a very few of the many that Kahneman labeled in his research with Tversky. There are many ways that people exhibit biases that defeat logical, critical thinking efforts.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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