On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not

On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not

You recognize when you know something for certain, right? You "know" the sky is blue, or that the traffic light had turned green, or where you were on the morning of September 11, 2001--you know these things, well, because you just do. In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of ce You recognize when you know something for certain, right? You "know" the sky is blue, or that the traffic light had...

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Title:On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not
Author:Robert A. Burton
Rating:
Genres:Psychology
ISBN:On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:272 pages pages

On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not Reviews

  • Lena
    Feb 28, 2008

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

  • Tucker
    Dec 26, 2011

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

  • Brendan
    Jun 20, 2011

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

    Boring, couldn't get into it. ...

    My second reading. Tons more notes. Really focused my attention on the feeling of knowing, how different feelings of knowing can be called rational, scientific, mystical, or religious in different contexts. How these feelings are no different from the feeling of thirst or hunger, we co...

    I live my life with more doubts than certainties, and after reading this book I bet this will be even more common. The number one lesson for me was that your "feeling" of certainty can work against you if it keeps you away from curiosity and deeper knowledge. ...

    This book took me a long time to read because I borrowed it from the library and couldn't renew it, so I had to return it and then borrow it again. Even so, it was worth it. Burton, an acclaimed neurologist, asks what's going on in our brains when we believe we know something (he calls...

  • Eva
    Jun 15, 2009

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

  • Cliff
    Oct 19, 2009

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

  • Angela Juline
    Aug 03, 2018

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

  • Igor
    Oct 15, 2009

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

    Boring, couldn't get into it. ...

    My second reading. Tons more notes. Really focused my attention on the feeling of knowing, how different feelings of knowing can be called rational, scientific, mystical, or religious in different contexts. How these feelings are no different from the feeling of thirst or hunger, we co...

    I live my life with more doubts than certainties, and after reading this book I bet this will be even more common. The number one lesson for me was that your "feeling" of certainty can work against you if it keeps you away from curiosity and deeper knowledge. ...

    This book took me a long time to read because I borrowed it from the library and couldn't renew it, so I had to return it and then borrow it again. Even so, it was worth it. Burton, an acclaimed neurologist, asks what's going on in our brains when we believe we know something (he calls...

    ?Thoughts are the shadows of our sensations ?? ??always darker, emptier, simpler than these.? -- Nietzsche (quoted in the book) Certainty ? that unmistakable feeling of ?rightness? ? is a tricky concept, existing in the shadowy borderlands between a self-gener...

    Subtitle: "Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not". Burton's book takes on the whole phenomenon of "I just know, that's all", that feeling of knowing you're right about something. He is associate chief of the Department of Neurosciences at Mt. Zion - UCSF Hospital. When he speaks...

    Do you know that feeling of being certain about something? Having a hunch? Having something no the tip of your tongue? Imagine a world without that feeling at all. Everything is a purely reason driven cost/benefit analysis. Do emotions or intuitive emotions driving you to make a decisi...

  • Andrew
    Aug 13, 2009

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

  • Richard
    Sep 23, 2009

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

  • Kevin
    Jun 07, 2009

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

  • Jacob J
    May 17, 2009

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

  • Lynn
    Aug 27, 2009

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

    Boring, couldn't get into it. ...

    My second reading. Tons more notes. Really focused my attention on the feeling of knowing, how different feelings of knowing can be called rational, scientific, mystical, or religious in different contexts. How these feelings are no different from the feeling of thirst or hunger, we co...

    I live my life with more doubts than certainties, and after reading this book I bet this will be even more common. The number one lesson for me was that your "feeling" of certainty can work against you if it keeps you away from curiosity and deeper knowledge. ...

    This book took me a long time to read because I borrowed it from the library and couldn't renew it, so I had to return it and then borrow it again. Even so, it was worth it. Burton, an acclaimed neurologist, asks what's going on in our brains when we believe we know something (he calls...

    ?Thoughts are the shadows of our sensations ?? ??always darker, emptier, simpler than these.? -- Nietzsche (quoted in the book) Certainty ? that unmistakable feeling of ?rightness? ? is a tricky concept, existing in the shadowy borderlands between a self-gener...

    Subtitle: "Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not". Burton's book takes on the whole phenomenon of "I just know, that's all", that feeling of knowing you're right about something. He is associate chief of the Department of Neurosciences at Mt. Zion - UCSF Hospital. When he speaks...

    Do you know that feeling of being certain about something? Having a hunch? Having something no the tip of your tongue? Imagine a world without that feeling at all. Everything is a purely reason driven cost/benefit analysis. Do emotions or intuitive emotions driving you to make a decisi...

    I liked it even though there was a lot I disagreed with. Burton shows how tenuos our knowledge is , but he glossed over one of his stated goals, to clearly distinguish scientific knowledge from other kinds of knowledge. His excerpts from Darwin's autobiography made the point, but he se...

  • Joe
    Jun 22, 2010

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

  • Popup-ch
    Feb 06, 2015

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

  • Traci
    Sep 05, 2017

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

  • Clark Hays
    Jan 23, 2016

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

    Boring, couldn't get into it. ...

    My second reading. Tons more notes. Really focused my attention on the feeling of knowing, how different feelings of knowing can be called rational, scientific, mystical, or religious in different contexts. How these feelings are no different from the feeling of thirst or hunger, we co...

    I live my life with more doubts than certainties, and after reading this book I bet this will be even more common. The number one lesson for me was that your "feeling" of certainty can work against you if it keeps you away from curiosity and deeper knowledge. ...

    This book took me a long time to read because I borrowed it from the library and couldn't renew it, so I had to return it and then borrow it again. Even so, it was worth it. Burton, an acclaimed neurologist, asks what's going on in our brains when we believe we know something (he calls...

    ?Thoughts are the shadows of our sensations ?? ??always darker, emptier, simpler than these.? -- Nietzsche (quoted in the book) Certainty ? that unmistakable feeling of ?rightness? ? is a tricky concept, existing in the shadowy borderlands between a self-gener...

  • Erikka
    Jan 14, 2016

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

  • Syed Ashrafulla
    Apr 28, 2018

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

  • Matthew Green
    Apr 01, 2018

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

  • Georgina Lara
    Aug 30, 2017

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

    Boring, couldn't get into it. ...

    My second reading. Tons more notes. Really focused my attention on the feeling of knowing, how different feelings of knowing can be called rational, scientific, mystical, or religious in different contexts. How these feelings are no different from the feeling of thirst or hunger, we co...

    I live my life with more doubts than certainties, and after reading this book I bet this will be even more common. The number one lesson for me was that your "feeling" of certainty can work against you if it keeps you away from curiosity and deeper knowledge. ...

  • Nicholas Moryl
    Feb 03, 2016

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

  • عبدالرحمن عقاب
    Feb 03, 2014

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

  • Aphrael
    Sep 18, 2018

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

  • Jason Meinig
    Oct 26, 2013

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

    Boring, couldn't get into it. ...

    My second reading. Tons more notes. Really focused my attention on the feeling of knowing, how different feelings of knowing can be called rational, scientific, mystical, or religious in different contexts. How these feelings are no different from the feeling of thirst or hunger, we co...

    I live my life with more doubts than certainties, and after reading this book I bet this will be even more common. The number one lesson for me was that your "feeling" of certainty can work against you if it keeps you away from curiosity and deeper knowledge. ...

    This book took me a long time to read because I borrowed it from the library and couldn't renew it, so I had to return it and then borrow it again. Even so, it was worth it. Burton, an acclaimed neurologist, asks what's going on in our brains when we believe we know something (he calls...

    ?Thoughts are the shadows of our sensations ?? ??always darker, emptier, simpler than these.? -- Nietzsche (quoted in the book) Certainty ? that unmistakable feeling of ?rightness? ? is a tricky concept, existing in the shadowy borderlands between a self-gener...

    Subtitle: "Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not". Burton's book takes on the whole phenomenon of "I just know, that's all", that feeling of knowing you're right about something. He is associate chief of the Department of Neurosciences at Mt. Zion - UCSF Hospital. When he speaks...

    Do you know that feeling of being certain about something? Having a hunch? Having something no the tip of your tongue? Imagine a world without that feeling at all. Everything is a purely reason driven cost/benefit analysis. Do emotions or intuitive emotions driving you to make a decisi...

    I liked it even though there was a lot I disagreed with. Burton shows how tenuos our knowledge is , but he glossed over one of his stated goals, to clearly distinguish scientific knowledge from other kinds of knowledge. His excerpts from Darwin's autobiography made the point, but he se...

    This book really triggered a lot of thoughts. I don't agree with every point the author makes, but I do appreciate the constant barrage of ideas that forced me to think and re-think brain mechanisms and "how I know what I know" -type questions. A couple of things I took away from this ...

  • Rossdavidh
    May 28, 2015

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

    Boring, couldn't get into it. ...

    My second reading. Tons more notes. Really focused my attention on the feeling of knowing, how different feelings of knowing can be called rational, scientific, mystical, or religious in different contexts. How these feelings are no different from the feeling of thirst or hunger, we co...

    I live my life with more doubts than certainties, and after reading this book I bet this will be even more common. The number one lesson for me was that your "feeling" of certainty can work against you if it keeps you away from curiosity and deeper knowledge. ...

    This book took me a long time to read because I borrowed it from the library and couldn't renew it, so I had to return it and then borrow it again. Even so, it was worth it. Burton, an acclaimed neurologist, asks what's going on in our brains when we believe we know something (he calls...

    ?Thoughts are the shadows of our sensations ?? ??always darker, emptier, simpler than these.? -- Nietzsche (quoted in the book) Certainty ? that unmistakable feeling of ?rightness? ? is a tricky concept, existing in the shadowy borderlands between a self-gener...

    Subtitle: "Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not". Burton's book takes on the whole phenomenon of "I just know, that's all", that feeling of knowing you're right about something. He is associate chief of the Department of Neurosciences at Mt. Zion - UCSF Hospital. When he speaks...

  • Will Simpson
    Mar 17, 2017

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

    Boring, couldn't get into it. ...

    My second reading. Tons more notes. Really focused my attention on the feeling of knowing, how different feelings of knowing can be called rational, scientific, mystical, or religious in different contexts. How these feelings are no different from the feeling of thirst or hunger, we co...

  • Kathy
    Jul 09, 2018

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

    Boring, couldn't get into it. ...

  • John Petrocelli
    Nov 28, 2017

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

  • Jessie Heckenmueller
    Jul 30, 2018

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...

    This book is based around an interesting question that I had never considered before: What does it mean to know something? The author points out that 'the feeling of knowing' is a neuro-biological reaction and not a logical conclusion. There is also a wide genetic variability in th...

    This was a bit slow, and a bit dry, in parts, but the overlying concept was fascinating. We are not purely mechanical creatures. We don't void our beliefs when faced with uncertainty; we take into account new information and either reshape our thoughts or, more often, stick to our guns...

    This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I was doubtful it would be much good, but the more I read the better it got. If you're interested in understanding why it is that we think we know what we know and how our minds really work when it comes to the feeling of certainty, t...

    In the words of the author: The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction, and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations that happen to us.Unfortunately, once one understands this point, ...

    ?????? ???? ???? (???????) ?????? ??????. ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ?? ???? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???...

    Interesting but tough reading, as it's rather technical. I like the idea, but I have to be honest - I'm not really sure I completely understood everything I read. Much like the title, there's no way to be certain that it really was a good book. Love the fact that the author had the ...

    Robert Burton has written a very accessible book that ends up spanning a much wider range of the biological limitations of the human mind than the title implies. Robert shows evidence that feelings of rightness or certainty are one of our basic emotions, and the role that emotion pl...

    Can basically be summarized as: 1. "Knowing" is a feeling and, as such, is subjective. You can feel like you "know" something that is, in fact, totally false. 2. We can't control the reaction of feeling like we know something. Part of it is controlled by our subconscious and is essen...

    What do we know about what we know? "Metaknowledge," knowledge about knowledge, is addressed in this book under "the feeling of knowing," into which Burton collapses the feelings of certainty, rightness, conviction and correctness. You know what he's talking about: The sense that yo...

    Review: An interesting account of the feeling of knowing and certainty. Includes discussion of how certainty arises out mental sensations that happen to us, as opposed to deliberate conclusions or conscious choices. Also includes discussion of neurological bases of certainty. Overall, ...

    This book crystallized many of the preconceived notions I've had over the years regarding certainty. The author is able to properly formulate the Jerry blind spot in certainty: that it is unconscious but claims to be rational. Many of the resulting criticisms by the author reflect a ch...

    I waffle on whether to give this three or four stars. The problem is this: Burton does a fine job of laying out various neurological truths. However, he doesn't seem to do a good job of tying them together to successfully prove his ultimate thesis. I get what he's saying, but I had a ...

    very interesting. dense and at times rather abstract. I took away from it how relative rationality is as a concept and how our brains play fast and loose with reality to be able to give us a decent life. Only thing I didn't get is near the end the author has a plea against absolutism, ...

    On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD "The message at the heart of this book is that the feelings of knowing, correctness, conviction and certainty aren't deliberate conclusions and conscious choices. They are mental sensations tha...

    Really enjoyed learning about the concepts and many of the examples/research studies that were used throughout the book; however, occasionally his tone particularly related to some of his biases (which were generally acknowledged and I appreciated this) seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed hi...

  • Jeffwest15
    Jan 04, 2009

    It is always somewhat astonishing when an intelligent author manages to make an interesting topic dull. The unassailable certainty exhibited by ideologues of many varieties lies behind many of the world's political and cultural problems. One would expect that an examination of how s...

    I was totally in love with this book when I first picked it up. Just saw it on the shelf, started browsing it, and couldn't put it down. A neurologist who is also a novelist, who has a lifelong interest in existential questions and wrote essays on William James in college? Dude! It see...

    I'll start this review with a quote from the back of the book, since it explains the premise better than I can: "In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" so...

    I really thought I was going to like this book because I enjoy epistemology and cognitive science. And yet, I only made it about 2/3 of the way through the book before I gave up. It was not so much that it was boring as that it was frustrating. The main problem I had was that this book...

    You read these brain books, and you just have more questions - even more so with this one, because the author is arguing against certainty. So how can I be certain he is right??? It really is something to consider and I think it explains a lot as to why people have such a hard time hea...

    This was given to me for Christmas, perhaps as a dig at my joked-about intensive defense of my own ideas. Burton's thesis that there is an innate biological feeling of knowing, i.e. of certainty, that is separate and distinct from reason and actual fact, is not so hard for me to sw...