Monday, 29 November 2010

2nd summary

So here it is finally! My 2nd 500word summary for my dissertation proposal.

Summary of the book Being wrong by Kathryn Schulz

In her book ‘Being Wrong’ Kathyrn Schulz examines how we as human beings in our everyday lives perceive and react to things. She poses the question what if everything you thought about being wrong is wrong? Taking this different approach looking closely at human error and how being wrong is part of everyday life. Using a combination of philosophy, history and neurology to illustrate this. She explores attitudes towards making a mistake and why when confronted with being wrong we nearly always insist we are right. Giving you a very different perspective on what it means or should mean to being in the wrong.
Schulz looks at many different aspects of being wrong that are often not realised. Also why as human beings human error is inevitable and is fundamental to our development. She examines not only the attitudes of today’s society but also throughout history on why making a mistake is so frowned upon and in most people’s eyes makes you a lesser person.
She examines the notion of how what we see is not always right. Instead almost an optical illusion. Tricking the brain into seeing something else. Schulz makes reference to examples in history to illustrate this. One in particular is that of the Scottish explorer John Ross who whilst sailing through Arctic waters he saw a mountain range. His fellow explorers following behind him in a separate boat did not see these mountains at all. When they went back a second time his fellow explorers did indeed see the mountain range Ross spoke about and sailed straight through it. In other words the mountains were in fact a mirage and not actually there. Another example is through the quizzes she uses. Asking you a question about what you see in the following pictures or diagrams. Then offering three different possible answers. These quizzes appear at first glance pretty easy and straightforward, almost childlike. However when you get to the end and see your answers, which are all wrong, you realise things really are not what they seem.
Throughout this book Schulz uses a wide variety of primary and secondary sources such as interviews, both formal and informal, radio broadcasts, news items, websites, journal articles, conversations and books
This is an intriguing book which offers a fascinating insight into the meaning of being wrong. Schulz offers you a different take on how and what it means to make a mistake. Making you wonder if being wrong is really being wrong? And why should we have such negative attitudes towards it. She concludes that instead of seeing this as a negative thing we should really see it in an optimistic way. Giving examples of how her neighbour insists that he’s smoked his last cigarette and how a friend of hers during a four week holiday decided to read one of the longest and hardest works of literature ever written.

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