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Inevitable Illusions

Inevitable Illusions
Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini
New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1994
BF442 .P5213 1994

Why should we be most skeptical when we're most confident we know the truth? Why do we often think we should have foreseen entirely unpredictable events? Why do conclusions that seem eminently logical turn out to be totally irrational?

The answers lie in the startling scientific discovery that the human mind is "hard-wired" to make mistakes in judgement. Renowned cognitive scientist Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini charts this terrain by explaining how cognitive illusions lead to inevitable errors in thinking. Based on the results of hundreds of experiments by leading researchers, he shows us why we are vastly overconfident of our intuitive judgement.

Writing with all the wit and charm that have made his books international bestsellers, Piattelli-Palmarini explores the full range of cognitive illusions. From the perils of "probability blindness" to the smoke and mirrors of "magical thinking" and the perplexing twists and turns of the "seven deadly mental sins," he guides us on a sweeping tour of these fascinating discoveries. Through amusing and engaging examples, he allows us to see exactly where we go wrong and why we are so often ready to bet not just money, but even our lives and the lives of others, on our false conclusions.

Taking us on a delightful intellectual adventure, Piattelli-Palmarini probes some of the most intriguing and significant new findings about the mysteries of the human mind and reveals how we can consciously protect ourselves from the deceptive short-cuts and flaws in logic that rule our thoughts.

Quoted from dustjacket.