Making mistakes

We live in a world today that doesn’t value making mistakes, and of course we shouldn’t in cases of a plane pilot or a surgeon working on your body. But overall we have been learning over the years based on trial and error, and for this to happen both are required, you can’t have one without the other, right?

Teaching is a special form of error induction and students don’t like it, they want to be able to go through life without making mistakes, so the role of the teacher (for students) must be to teach them how to do something. Doing it without making mistakes. But, without the experience of being wrong how can we compare and validate being right. What kind of tests, ideas, or intuitions can be used to know what is the correct answer? In some cases we might find an easy way for instance in chemistry the units used will give you a good hint on being on the right track as you solve a problem. In general things are of course a bit more complicated.

In his book “Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking” Daniel C. Dennett (also author of Consciousness Explained) introduces the book to his readers talking about the importance and philosophy of making mistakes. One quote is of Gore Vidal (p 21) “It is not enough to succeed, others must fail.” That I understand in a broad context that includes not only the competing sides of a lose-win process but the fact that one’s wins are bases on the experiences of those that tried before us and weren’t successful.

So my query is “how can one valorize one’s mistakes?”

2 responses to “Making mistakes

  1. Pingback: Making mistakes | David J Terrell

  2. Thanks for visiting and following my blog, David! This is a thought provoking post. When someone gives me credit for my knowledge or expertise, I say it’s the result of having lived long enough to have made a lot of mistakes! The freedom to make mistakes and the support for learning from them is what leads to good intuition (and success) I think.

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