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Academic Writing

Selected Topics in Writing an Academic Paper


Silvia Gáliková

The textbook concentrates on selected topics and problematic aspects in preparing a cohesive and well-organised academic paper, such as: the relation between thinking and writing, establishing arguments, using logic and appropriate language in argumentative writing. The author considers writing as thinking made visible, as thinking in slow motion, a process whereby we can inspect and reflect on what we are thinking about. Writing doesn’t simply convey thought, it also forges it. It is a two-way street, both expressing and generating ideas.
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VIII. Cognitive biases


VIII Cognitive biases

Keywords: heuristics, automatisms, idols, overestimation, generalisation, supportive bias

As indicated in the previous chapter, clear and comprehensible writing requires clear and logical thinking. In reality, however, our minds are influenced by a variety of difficulties and confusions. In his work New Organon (1620) philosopher Francis Bacon has recognised negative aspects of idols – errors which repeatedly follow human mind in the process of knowledge. Bacon considered idols as false ideas declining reason from truth and better understanding of nature. According to Bacon, while some idols are inherent in human nature, others are acquired during lifetime. The first type is represented by idols of the tribe (idola tribus), for example, the habit of expecting more order in natural phenomena than is actually to be found. Idols of the imprisoning cave (idola specus) are based on personal prejudices, individual beliefs and passions.Idols of the marketplace (idola ← 83 | 84 → fori) are grounded in our trust to words that could lead to belief in nonexistent things. Bacon has considered this type of idols as the most dangerous. The last idols of the theatre (idoli theatri) express man’s acceptance of ideas and beliefs without any sign of doubt or criticism.

Past decades of experimental research in cognitive psychology have profoundly supported Bacon’s ideas on errors in cognition. Novel findings on the role and influence of cognitive biases on human thoughts and actions in various domains of society are linked up with the work of A. Tversky, P....

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