MOUNT VERNON — “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” by Kathryn Schultz is the featured item for the Adult Book Discussion on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, 201 N. Mulberry St., Mount Vernon.
To err is human. Everyone makes mistakes. Most people feel bad about screw-ups, miscalculations, forays down the wrong rabbit holes. Being wrong some of the time is the price people pay for having powerful cognitive abilities.
If that is the case, then why do people take erring so hard? This is the question addressed by Schultz in her new book, “Being Wrong.” The first section of her work analyzes error by recounting what philosophers, psychologists, and others have thought about what it is and why it happens.
Next, she examines the factors that lead people to err: Senses deceive people, reason is easily influenced by extra-rational (or irrational) factors, people trust experts they like instead of those who may be telling the truth, it’s easier to go along with the crowd, and so forth.
The third section explores what it feels like to be wrong: People may get embarrassed, defensive, heartbroken, mystified or angry. Finally, the author reveals why it is she believes error should not be seen as a gaffe to be avoided, but an inevitable part of being human. If people didn’t err, they wouldn’t change or grow — they simply wouldn’t be anything recognizable as being human.
The discussion will be led by John Chidester, director of the library.
Copies of “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” are available to be checked out at the public library, and may be purchased from Paragraphs Bookstore, 105 S. Main St., or Colonial Book Shop and Kid’s Shelf, 521 S. Main St., Mount Vernon.
The book discussions, sponsored by the Adult Services Department of the public library, are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information call 392-2665, ext. 230.
Published on January 12, 2011