As we go through life we learn shortcuts – ideas we refer to, habits we develop. This is essential I think – if we had to figure out every time how to start a car or whether we liked a food or not, our lives would rapidly become unliveable.

That is, we learn what we like, and what the world is like, in advance. But how is this different to simple prejudice – judging a situation before we have met it (or met it only briefly and superficially). This is the subject of my guest post on the Psychology, Philosophy and Real Life blog. It is called, “Does Learning Create Prejudice“. I hope you like it, Evan.

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8 Comments to “Learning and Prejudice”

  1. My first thoughts are that I don’t think that learning leads to prejudice in that prejudice means to me prejudging based on preceived generalizations or misunderstandings.

    To me judgement implies an evaluation, is it “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” I don’t think that you can judge an object because it is what it is. Even with a car, you actually don’t judge the car, but the manufacturer. In terms of the traffic light, I view it more as expecting things to run as usual. No judgement just fact. The judgement comes when we judge or have preconceived notions that the person who ran the light takes risks and has no regard for others when it may just be a case of not seeing the light or really having to go to the restroom.

    I think that the polar opposite of prejudice/judgement is acceptance. Hopefully, I explained how judgement and prejudice are linked. Mistakes are just mistakes, but we put or others put self-jugdement and judgement by others that can make a difference. Learning can just be learning or it can influence a person to be judgemental, if they generalize that all people that are______ are the same. But, there can also be acceptance of the above. Investigating and finding out about someone is close to acceptance and/or judgement.

    Sorry for the rambling and I may have contradicted myself.


  2. Evan says:

    Hi CC. I’m thinking about the difference between expectation and judgement. Perhaps expectation is more open to modification. I don’t think you contradicted yourself. Thanks for your response.

  3. Thank you. Those are good words to look at. I see both as open to change or modification given the proper input. Expectation to me is that one EXPECTS something to happen or someone to do something. Where as, judgement is what you DO to the other person.


  4. Evan says:

    Thanks CC

  5. Life goes on like this. We learn from our past and our mistakes.

  6. Learning and mistakes make a man perfect. We should get positive things from our back and do even better.

  7. If everything would be expected, we do not learn the lessons of our lives

  8. Evan says:

    I think that’s partly true. We can extend out learning in domains we are already familiar with. I also think it that what is surprising let’s us know that what we thought we knew isn’t the whole story.

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