• Shawn
    10.3k
    In CBT, there's a term called 'cognitive distortions'.

    Here's an example of some:

    Common_Cognitive_Biases.png

    I want to ask, what is it about cognitive distortions that give rise to faulty reasoning? Specifically, what are cognitive distortions?
  • Shawn
    10.3k
    I can't shake the impression that 'cognitive distortions' are errors in the reasoning of beliefs?

    Is there some metaphysics involved in the term 'cognitive distortions'?
  • unenlightened
    4.4k
    'cognitive distortions' are errors in the reasoning of beliefs?Posty McPostface

    Systematic errors. Getting things wrong is not a huge problem, unless one always gets them wrong in the same direction. Personalisation, for example, tends to be one sided, for example, some politicians like to take personal responsibility for things that go right, and make others personally responsible for things that go wrong; depressives tend towards the reverse.
  • Shawn
    10.3k
    Systematic errors.unenlightened

    So what about them makes them "systematic" as you say? Ontologically how do you pinpoint them, as false beliefs?
  • unenlightened
    4.4k
    Ontologically how do you pinpoint them as false beliefs?Posty McPostface

    Dialogue. It's hard to see one's own rose-tinted specs (other colours are available), but we might well spot each others distortions, if we are honest and interested. Hence talking cures, though it is not a great cure for politics.
  • Shawn
    10.3k


    When we talk about "dialogue" then should agreement and consensus building take first order or of utmost importance? How about if we talk about philosophy and the dialogues of Plato or the dialectical manner in which philosophy has progressed since Plato and Aristotle. Why the disagreement if we adhere to sound deductive, inferential, and abductive reasoning?
  • unenlightened
    4.4k
    should agreement and consensus building take first order or of utmost importance?Posty McPostface

    No. First order is always understanding, I think. Not 'Do I agree or disagree?' tends to be upper-most in my mind, but 'do I understand what is being said, and why it is being said?'

    Why the disagreement if we adhere to sound deductive, inferential, and abductive reasoning?Posty McPostface

    I think very often it is in that 'why it is being said?' Typically, it seems to me that a philosophical position presents a solution to some problems, and problematises some other solutions.
  • BrianW
    964


    I think, perhaps egotism and its many contributory factors. Like, arrogance and over-ambition or an inordinate fixation towards something (a kind of addiction), which then causes a person to exhibit impulsiveness or less caution than if they had the presence of mind to at least consider the variables. There also seems to be a level of deficiency in perspective which could explain personalisation and which I think falls on the passive side of egotism. Does any of this make any sense?

    then should agreement and consensus building take first order or of utmost importance?Posty McPostface

    No. First order is always understandingunenlightened

    I feel like it's a bit cyclic. Can there be understanding without agreement and consensus. The 'dialogue' solution is a great one but, I think, it works for people willing to find a solution. How would it work on someone who's unwilling to self-reflect earnestly?
  • Wayfarer
    9.5k
    How about if we talk about philosophy and the dialogues of Plato or the dialectical manner in which philosophy has progressed since Plato and Aristotle. Why the disagreement if we adhere to sound deductive, inferential, and abductive reasoning?Posty McPostface

    I think philosophy always had an element of therapy to it. In fact (I might have mentioned this before) the very word 'therapy' is derived from a Jewish religious sect called the Therapeutae. The Buddha was often allegorised as a 'physician'. Of course there is also the theme of miracle healings and cures in religion generally.

    In modern psychology, Albert Ellis' 'rational emotive behaviour therapy' was a model which 'is an active-directive, philosophically and empirically based psychotherapy, the aim of which is to resolve emotional and behavioral problems and disturbances and to help people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.' It is seen as the precursor to CBT. His ideas have been incorporated into the work of philosopher-therapist, Jules Evans.

    So - what are cognitive distortions? I think to answer that requires a normative framework, some way of distinguishing healthy from unhealthy responses, and so on. And that depends on what your conception of normality is. Freud said the aim of his work was the 'conversion of hysterical misery to ordinary unhappiness', and that the overall aim was to attain the balance necessary to form loving relationships and to work. Abraham Maslow tried to expand the scope of psychology to include 'peak experiences' and 'self-actualisation', something beyond mere adjustment or getting along. But I think being at least able to be a functioning member of society would be at least a way-station.
  • Shawn
    10.3k
    No. First order is always understanding, I think.unenlightened

    So, how do you understanding something without agreeing on it? Is this another cognitive distortion of being biased or judgemental? Another issue is cognitive dissonance wrt. to this.

    I think very often it is in that 'why it is being said?' Typically, it seems to me that a philosophical position presents a solution to some problems, and problematises some other solutions.unenlightened

    Doesn't that imply judgement on one's part to ask that question? At least some form of judgement at least.
  • Shawn
    10.3k
    I think, perhaps egotism and its many contributory factors. Like, arrogance and over-ambition or an inordinate fixation towards something (a kind of addiction), which then causes a person to exhibit impulsiveness or less caution than if they had the presence of mind to at least consider the variables.BrianW

    Yes, I think you are right about this. I also think it may be due to the identification of the self with respect to something. This is at least one form of cognitive distortion, such as personalization.

    There also seems to be a level of deficiency in perspective which could explain personalisation and which I think falls on the passive side of egotism. Does any of this make any sense?BrianW

    Yes, I think that such cognitive distortions can all work in tandem with another. Such as, I am lousy because, XYZ. Or I am depressed because I feel that way. Because because because...

    I feel like it's a bit cyclic. Can there be understanding without agreement and consensus.BrianW

    I think so. I just asked this question prior to addressing your post. So, I think we can have understanding without agreement; just, that it is hard to be non-biased and non-judgemental in that regard.

    The 'dialogue' solution is a great one but, I think, it works for people willing to find a solution. How would it work on someone who's unwilling to self-reflect earnestly?BrianW

    Yeah, that's a big issue. The discerning of intent, verifying 'understanding' and such.
  • Shawn
    10.3k


    So, if philosophy is therapeutic, then why all the disagreement? I'm reminded of the saying that philosophers are mad people.
  • Shawn
    10.3k
    Cognitive distortions can overlap and attain different affective states on a subject. I'm quite interested in the psychoanalytic aspect of their differing severity or level of overlap on one another.

    As an example, I think the prime suspects in the state known as "depression" are personalization>hasty generalizations>emotive reasoning>jumping to conclusions and selective abstraction. They all work with one another to produce the unease of depression.

    What are your thoughts? I'm just using 'depression' as an example here.

    Therefore, I ask. How do cognitive distortions reinforce themselves in one's mind?
  • Wayfarer
    9.5k
    by persuading you to identify with them.
  • Shawn
    10.3k
    by persuading you to identify with them.Wayfarer

    How do you stop this process? I already elaborated on it in my Disidentification thread.
  • Wayfarer
    9.5k
    And I’ve responded in various other threads. I think it takes a real effort to get out of your own head-space. In my case, one key element became physical fitness - long-distance running. Took it up in my late twenties, from a low base, never having been a competitive sports person, and having a pretty major smoking habit. But I found the effects of strenuous and sustained physical exercise - like, running 6 km or swimming one - had a very therapeutic effect on my general mental well-being. This is documented and proven. But many people will say ‘well, I couldn’t do that, it won’t work for me’. That may be the process of the very same cognitive assertions asserting themselves. It’s like, when you’re a smoker (as I was), the habit literally owns you, it tells you what to do. You have to break out of it.
  • Shawn
    10.3k


    Well, I don't want to turn this thread into one about depression; but, if that's what it leading to then I oblige.
  • Wayfarer
    9.5k
    I had the feeling it was connected. When you ask 'specifically, what are cognitive distortions', then I think the answer is something along the lines of 'less than optimal psycho-dynamic adaptations.' And changing them requires cognitive re-configuration. (In the Platonic tradition, that was the meaning of 'metanoia'.)

    In Freudian theory, there are repressed memories which have to be coaxed to the surface through therapy. Then the energy which had been bound up in keeping them buried is liberated so it can be directed to better purposes. And also, doing that work can be difficult and painful, as there's a reason why these things are denied. The problem with Freud though was that he had no conception of what constituted a well human being, than one that was able to 'work and love'. Which is not a bad thing, but hardly a compelling motivation in my view. (And besides, Freud is thoroughly out of fashion nowadays.)

    Years ago I did some powerful group-work, awareness training, where we went through a similar process to that. It actually is a very difficult thing to get training in, in our culture. It's not even recognised as being important.
  • Shawn
    10.3k
    Years ago I did some powerful group-work, awareness training, where we went through a similar process to that. It actually is a very difficult thing to get training in, in our culture. It's not even recognised as being important.Wayfarer

    Please expand.
  • Wayfarer
    9.5k
    Oh. When I was in my mid-twenties, saw a poster in a bookstore, 'Learn Meditation'. The guy that showed up had an entire speil, diagrams and theory, and the rest. It was kind of a new-agey type of organisation called Transformations. I signed up for the practice, which was very similar in format to Transcendental Meditation - two periods a day of mantra meditation. That was the context of the group work - classes like 'being of service' and so on which they held in a rented space in town. People would go through pretty intense experiences in those classes. I don't know if Walter is still with us, I haven't seen him since then, late 1970's, but I got a lot out of those classes. But I also don't know where you would go to learn anything similar. (Possibly Landmark Education, which was the spinoff from EST. )
  • Wayfarer
    9.5k
    But also do check out Jules Evans' current OP.
  • Shawn
    10.3k
    But also do check out Jules Evans' current OP.Wayfarer

    Will do. Do you think philosophy is awash with too many existential questions for its own good?

    What can be said about philosophy, then?
  • Wayfarer
    9.5k
    I think the basic idea is perfectly sound - it is 'therapy', it's about being well, being optimally tuned for existence. All that stuff. The issue is, it's not just words, it really is a practice, a way of living, which has been lost in a lot of academic philosophy.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.8k
    I want to ask, what is it about cognitive distortions that give rise to faulty reasoning? Specifically, what are cognitive distortions?Posty McPostface

    Some of those examples of cognitive distortions describe me, when I get a lack of sleep. When the insomnia kicks in and I go day after day with less and less sleep, the cognitive distortions intensify and feed the insomnia. Maybe those cognitive distortions can result from other forms of tiredness, like an overworked, under-rewarded, or frustrated mind.
  • unenlightened
    4.4k
    So, how do you understanding something without agreeing on it?Posty McPostface

    Well, how do you disagree with something without understanding it? I say 'six sevens are forty-eight', and I expect you to disagree just to the extent that you understand what is being said.

    There is a sense in which agreement and disagreement are based on a more fundamental agreement - what the words mean. Understanding is mutual from the beginning and at this base level shows itself in action as per Wittgenstein - I say 'slab' and you don't hand me a block. So we build that mutual understanding to the point where I say 'six sevens' and you say 'forty-two'.

    Now if someone replied to this in Arabic, it might be right and it might be wrong, but it would be meaningless to me; I could not agree or disagree because I would not understand anything.


    Doesn't that imply judgement on one's part to ask that question? At least some form of judgement at least.Posty McPostface

    Of course it does. Everything involves judgement; How much food to put on your fork so it won't fall off on the way to your mouth. Let me offer an example:

    Solipsism solves the problem of other minds by simple denial. So when I say 'slab', and you pass me a slab, that is evidence, not that you understand anything, but that you are a voice activated robot, or some such. 'Agreement' and 'understanding' become aspects of good programming on your side, and matters of effective manipulation on my side. This leads to a very different understanding of this (or any) thread, that I cannot entirely get my head around. 'Why does a solipsist engage in discussion?' is a question I cannot really answer, certainly not to convince others; perhaps it is an attempt to reprogram, but my favourite is that they are not really solipsist, but find it entertaining to espouse the position, not least because it makes sense of a self-centredness that admits no moral limit. So it also solves the problem of morality by simple denial. The problems it raises are every aspect of communication, mutuality and society, none of which make any literal sense.

    This is my best understanding and judgement, that a genuine solipsist cannot acknowledge my communication, and is therefore impossible to talk to meaningfully at all. But my experience is that they are very very few.
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