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Liberating the Mind: Overcoming Sociocentric Thought and Egocentric Tendencies




Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / The Foundation for Critical Thinking
By Linda Elder (Foreword by Gerald Nosich)
Pages: 256 • Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-5381-3762-8 • Hardback • December 2019 • $34.99 • (£23.95)
978-1-5381-3763-5 • eBook • December 2019 • $33.00 • (£22.95)

Throughout history, thinkers within every part of society have been crippled by an ingrained bias toward their own views and the views of their preferred social groups. As these dangerous egocentric and sociocentric tendencies continue to pose the greatest threat to the advancement of rational societies, Liberating the Mind reveals a way forward.

Dissecting the core of how humans naturally learn, think, and choose to act, internationally-recognized critical thinking leader Linda Elder illuminates root causes of dysfunctional thought and
shows us how to free ourselves from both selfishness and groupthink through explicit tools of rationality. This instant intellectual classic offers a cohesive, integrated theory of mind that takes into account pathological tendencies shared by all humans, while offering a clear path toward the cultivation of fairminded critical thinking throughout the world. Elder illuminates how, by taking the intrinsic problems in our thinking seriously, we can follow the example of Socrates and live the examined life, even in times of upheaval and doubt.



$34.99



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Liberating the Mind: Overcoming Sociocentric Thought and Egocentric Tendencies

Additional Information About:
Liberating the Mind: Overcoming Sociocentric Thought and Egocentric Tendencies

Table of Contents

Foreword by Gerald Nosich
Preface

Chapter 1: The Problem of Sociocentrism
Chapter 2: Manifestations of Sociocentric Thought in Human Societies
Chapter 3: Sociocentric Uses of Language
Chapter 4: Sociocentric Counterfeits of Ethical Reasoning
Chapter 5: Sociocentric Thinking and Egocentric Thinking in Interrelationship
Chapter 6: Envisioning Critical Societies

Afterword by Richard Paul
Appendix A: Some Basic Definition
Appendix B: The Logic of Sociocentric Thought

 

Praise for the Book

“In this bracing book, Linda Elder delineates the destructive power of in-group bias and the inability to see the world from other points of view, smashing shibboleths along the way. The book offers useful exercises to help readers think through their own preconceptions as well as those held by their families, religions, and societies. A practical tool for those looking to free their minds.”
—Doug Merlino, author of The Hustle

‘Sociocentrism’ is a useful concept, embracing a host of ways in which we fail to give sufficient weight to the interests of those beyond the borders of our own group - whether that group is family, ethnic or religious group, or our own species. I hope this book will stimulate its readers to think critically about their sociocentric prejudices.”
—Peter Singer, author, Writings on an Ethical Life and Animal Liberation

“How easy it is to see the corrosive effect of groupthink in others—over history or across borders. Linda Elder wants more from us. She wants us to comprehend, in ourselves and in our own time, just how much our fragile psyches are built of beliefs and opinions that have value only as signs of group membership. Thinking for ourselves may be the most difficult and courageous thing that we can learn to do. [Liberating the Mind] is the best guide I’ve read on the topic.”
—Ethan Watters, Author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

“Human beings are, above all, social animals. On the whole, this is a good thing, but it can also lead to the kind of groupthink that poet William Blake called ‘mind-forged manacles.’ [Liberating the Mind] is a clarion call for independent thinking and critical analysis. Using compelling examples, Linda Elder illuminates the perils of sociocentric thought.“
—Mark Pendergrast, author of Victims of Memory and other books

“Many people understand the drawbacks of egocentric thought. Less widely known, however, is the downside at the other extreme: ‘sociocentric’ thought. Yet, as Linda Elder shows so clearly, excessive group-orientation can dangerously deform our thoughts, our lives, our planet. Read [Liberating the Mind] and then reflect on how sociocentric thought (actually, a failure of thought) has influenced you and those around you. When it comes to counteracting this insidious process, there is nothing better than good, clean, honest, hard, serious and probing thought, and [Liberating the Mind] is a superb handbook for precisely this antidote.”
— David P. Barash, professor of psychology, University of Washington, and author, most recently,
of Homo Mysterious: Evolutionary Mysteries of Human Nature

“[Liberating the Mind], by Linda Elder, provides a detailed and challenging review and examination of critical thinking, and serves as an effective guide toward careful and productive thought. Various patterns and pitfalls of common cognitive practices are evaluated. Abundant examples are given of human problems and failures resulting from actions based on self-centered and group-centered thinking. Dr. Elder’s many quotations from notable thinkers provide interest and color . . . Linda Elder has done it again. Her latest contribution is a very worthwhile treatise on the importance of critical thinking. It will (and should) be widely distributed and read.”
— Joseph Erwin, primatologist, editor and author of Captivity and Behavior