Thanks, Roman. I see what you mean, but I’m not sure the distinction is material, at least not in the context of this article. Perhaps the distinction is related to the degree to which you want a belief you hold to be true. Imagine I take the bus every morning. There are multiple bus stops, and for two weeks, I check every time which is my stop. If every day the bus departs from the same stop F, I might adopt a heuristic that the bus to my destination ‘always’ goes from that stop. That will save me some time, checking which stop I should go to everyday. If, some day later, there is a sign at stop F that the bus will leave from stop G, I will easily adjust that belief. This situation feels to me very much like using a belief as a navigational heuristic.

If I believe that people turn up on time at an appointment, that is something that I also want to be the case. This is much more like what you describe: a constructed world in which people are punctual.

In particular, I believe (! :-)) that there is a difference between a directly observed fact, and an indirectly observed one (which is essentially someone else’s belief). If I believe all swans are white, the observation of a black one should force me to change my belief. But someone else telling me that they have seen (or heard about) the existence of black swans is a different matter.

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Accidental behavioural economist in search of wisdom. Uses insights from (behavioural) economics in organization development. On Twitter as @koenfucius

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