014 - Curiosity and Critical Thinking

On this episode I talk about the various ways that curiosity is an undervalued resource for critical thinking.

I explain how curiosity plays an important role in generating the kind of background knowledge that supports critical thinking, and why it has important and underrated debiasing properties, meaning that it can reduce many of the harmful effects of cognitive biases on our thinking.

I’m also going to talk about my personal relationship to curiosity, and how it has influenced many of the decisions I’ve made in my career.

In This Episode:

Knowledge is not compartmentalized (3:40)

Curiosity is a resource for generating relevant and lasting background knowledge that supports critical thinking (5:30)

“Situational” curiosity vs “trait” curiosity (9:30)

Some people are naturally more curious than others, but curiosity can be cultivated (11:25)

“Partisan interest” vs genuine curiosity (14:50)

Genuine curiosity is a debiasing agent (16:40)

High partisan interest, low curiosity (18:15)

My personal relationship to curiosity (20:15)

Why I was never a “true” Academic (23:00)

Low partisan interest, high curiosity (26:15)

My reaction to Trump’s win (27:30)

Why I have no ideological or political agenda (29:30)

The one agenda I do have (31:40)

What is possible with crowdfunding (34:30)