What Actually Is a Belief? And Why Is It So Hard to Change?
"Beliefs are a slippery concept. What actually are they? Philosophy has long struggled to define them.2 In this post-truth and ideologically polarized world, we need a better understanding of beliefs. As a psychiatrist, my job frequently involves identifying distorted beliefs, understanding how they formed, and helping people to learn to be more skeptical of their own beliefs. Let’s consider a helpful evolutionary framework for making more coherent sense of what beliefs really are, and why mistaken beliefs can sometimes be so hard to change. Then we’ll talk about how to gain a more accurate grasp of reality, and how, ultimately, to advance society."