Monday, December 17, 2007

Think Greek

Jim Stroup at Managing Leadership has a marvelous post on The Socratic Attitude.

An excerpt:

We began this part of our current series by discussing the danger of overconfidence among the incompetent from two angles: 1) the incompetent who are overconfident, and 2) the overconfident who are incompetent. Here, again, is the original axiom, together with its first corollary, that cover these points:

The dumber they are, the smarter they think they are.

The smarter they think they are, the dumber they are.

Discovering that it might be more difficult than we had thought to recognize incompetence, we went on to consider how we might know competence when we see it. Here, again, is the second corollary generated from our original axiom:

The dumber they think they are, the smarter they are.

While reviewing the second corollary, we saw that Socrates adopted a peculiar attitude – the profession of ignorance – to force himself to reject glibly offered assumptions; rather, he re-subjected them to questioning in order to ensure he understood them. As it happens, he usually discovered in the process that they had fatal flaws, casting into doubt the beliefs and practices that were built upon them.

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