On Being Certain

On Being Certain

Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not

Paperback - 2009
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You recognize when you know something for certain, right? You "know" the sky is blue, or that the traffic light had turned green, or where you were on the morning of September 11, 2001--you know these things, well, because you just do.

In On Being Certain , neurologist Robert Burton shows that feeling certain--feeling that we know something--- is a mental sensation, rather than evidence of fact. An increasing body of evidence suggests that feelings such as certainty stem from primitive areas of the brain and are independent of active, conscious reflection and reasoning. In other words, the feeling of knowing happens to us; we cannot make it happen.

Bringing together cutting-edge neuroscience, experimental data, and fascinating anecdotes, Robert Burton explores the inconsistent and sometimes paradoxical relationship between our thoughts and what we actually know. Provocative and groundbreaking, On Being Certain challenges what we know (or think we know) about the mind, knowledge, and reason.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Griffin, 2009, c2008.
Edition: 1st St. Martin's Griffin ed.
ISBN: 9780312541521
Characteristics: xiv, 256 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.


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Jul 02, 2015

As a teacher of critical thinking, I found this and Burton's other books invaluable. Well worth reading.

Jul 31, 2014

If you enjoy thinking and especially like to gain insight into how your own mind works, this is a great book. It is not difficult reading but certainly worth savoring.

Mar 18, 2012

Entertainingly written, but penetrating and up to the minute with respect to current neuroscientific research.


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