Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Agency Awareness

I came over a very interesting text about The Agency Problem published on the Overcoming Bias blog. Even though I wouldn't classify Santa Claus, the Electrons or other issues in this cognitive bias, I think the author has a point specially when he speaks about politics and history teaching in schools. History making and teaching in my home country, Romania, is a brilliant example of this problem and I bet you could find many other examples:)
"Of course, it's possible to do the opposite: ignore living, breathing agents in favor of some cold "idea." Much of the history curriculum works like that. Instead of individuals arguing in salons there was "The Renaissance"; instead of little girls suffocating in overcrowded textile factories in a small town in Massachusetts there was a "Progressive Movement." Pamphlets and memoirs and speeches are abstracted into "isms", and kids look at history as a logical progression from one to the next."