Archive for July, 2013

Argumentation between people of different convictions: Practical Implications of the Lindley Paradox

July 9, 2013

The Lindley paradox  can teach us some deep lessons about the conduction of our everyday business: one cannot (and in fact should not!) expect to win over an argument when one is confronting a person with much stronger convictions, even if that person is wrong!! Furthermore when we witness such an encounter, one cannot (and in fact should not!)  always attribute this outcome to other reasons e.g. deference to authority, lack of determination or even outright bullying. Even in the absence of these factors a rational exchange between two individuals of widely different convictions would lead to the one with the stronger ones coming out of the debate a winner. This is not particularly troublesome if the person is right, but it turns out to be problematic when that person is outright wrong. (more…)

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On the futility of discourse between two people of different degrees of conviction : Reflections on the Lindley Paradox

July 6, 2013

In an exchange between two people, it is the one with the stronger conviction,not the better grasp of reality, who will win.

The phrase above snapped into my head when I watched an honest and very extensive dialog between two business partners who were examining an issue. Partner A had come into the table with a very strong conviction about the issue and what needed to be done, while partner B was not so sure and was open to entertain a number of possible courses of action. Over a course of 45 min, they examined the data available to them and decided to proceed with A’s opinion. What is surprising is not the decision per se , but the fact that before the meeting A had confided to me that the available information contradicted his belief; B had also said that A’s position was rather implausible given the same data. Yet, when they sat down and considered what was in front of them they reached a rather different conclusion!

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