Is Personal Bias Justified?

Good Essays

The nature of humans has always been to put themselves above others. For centuries, bias has been present in almost every society; the idea of somebody being different than another creates obvious boundaries. Bias against people who are racially, religiously, socially and economically different from their counterparts has created wide arrays of historical imbalances. Is personal bias an old freedom or is it an idea that should be censored to preserve the emotional and in some cases intellectual well being of others? The arguments throughout history on protection of victims versus the freedom of speech and rights of the accused has shown that unconscious bias affects every aspect of history in negative ways. To understand how bias can influence …show more content…

Second, when historians compile an account of a historical subject, be it a person, an institution, or an event, what they say about it might be justified and credible but the account might omit significant facts about the subject so that it is unbalanced, or what I call unfair. The third kind of bias is that of a general description of the past that implies facts which, on the evidence available,are known to be false. Thus a Marxist might describe a revolution as a class struggle when there were no classes involved in it at all. A fourth common form of bias in history occurs in providing causal explanations of historical events when some but not all of the important causes are mentioned. (McCullagh, “Bias in Historical Description, Interpretation and …show more content…

As English academic and economist Noreena Hertz wrote: “All of us show bias when it comes to what information we take in. We typically focus on anything that agrees with the outcome we want.” The only way to accurately depict any event is to provide an in depth account of the occurrences, but history books and historians provide the subjects they choose to examine. A trustworthy document isn’t easy to find, and when found, there will be arguments on the relevance of the recount based upon an author’s bias or general interest. The Chinese philosopher Confucius indicated that ritual was crucial to running a successful government and that a well educated man in these regards possessed many virtues; Plato, a Greek philosopher, professed that the political community benefits everybody and that one common value in society must be upheld for social peace, while an English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes believed that individuals should dedicate themselves to a sovereign who would enforce laws and create peace. Different points of view are shown in the three philosophers’ ideas of an effective government, but a historiographer studying trains of thought in ancient governments might choose one of the three examples to support his or her claims. The problem with only disclosing the information they find useful is that in a sense, the rest of the story is not told. The point of history is to

Get Access