Being Wrong

By Solomita, Alec | The Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 2010 | Go to article overview

Being Wrong


Solomita, Alec, The Christian Science Monitor


What makes us err? A journalist examines our stubborn inclination to wrong-headedness.

Reading Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error is almost as

much fun as being right. And as journalist Kathryn Schulz explains,

being right is one of our true delights. What's more, "our

indiscriminate enjoyment of being right is matched by an almost

equally indiscriminate feeling that we are right." This is the

first of many provocative observations that Schulz explores in this

charming, serious, but ultimately deficient book. "Being Wrong"

reveals that Schulz is as vulnerable to unwitting wrongheadedness as

the book's many colorful exemplars of error.

"Being Wrong" is partly an intellectual history of changing

definitions of and attitudes toward error, with accurate yet

accessible nods to Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, John Locke, Emily

Dickinson, and a host of other luminaries.

But it's also an investigation into "wrongology," tracing the

myriad, sometimes exotic, roads that can lead us into mistakes, both

minor and life altering. On a journey to the Arctic in 1818, for

example, the explorer John Ross experienced a "superior (or

arctic)" mirage (not to be confused with an "inferior mirage,"

a patch of water glistening on a hot highway that vanishes as we

approach). Seeking a way to the Northwest Passage, Ross, after months

at sea, reached Lancaster Sound in Canada. "I distinctly saw the

land, round the bottom of the bay, forming a chain of mountains....

This land appeared to be at the distance of eight leagues [about 27

miles]." Relying on his eyes, Ross decided the inlet was

impassable. In fact, the mountains were 200 miles away with open

water still before him.

Schulz also offers more prosaic, but still disturbing, failures of

human perception. A chapter on the unreliability of eyewitness

accounts shakes the reader with stories of misidentified innocents

spending decades in prison. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Being Wrong
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.