LitLink

This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jacourt and the Paths to Prejudice

In Jacourt’s Préjugé, he says prejudice is “a false judgment made by the mind about the nature of things after an insufficient exercise of the intellectual facilities.” To elaborate, he believes a prejudice is a false judgment, belief or attitude held by a person based not solely on the actual person, idea or situation under scrutiny but derived from the believer’s and others’ preconceptions and beliefs. People who hold prejudices take a situation, pick it apart and retain or support the details that are favorable to them. The aspects that challenge their ideals are discounted, distorted or ignored.
Prejudices can take hold of people in different ways according to Jacourt. People may not necessarily be aware that they are maintaining false notions. Prejudices are like “infectious illnesses” that attack people, quickly infiltrate their thoughts and linger. Or, in some, prejudice does not attack their mindsets suddenly. In disguise, it slowly invades people’s minds, ensnaring thoughts and slowly changing beliefs and attitudes without these people even realizing that their minds have betrayed them.
Jacourt says prejudice can be formed from the initial nature of a person’s understanding. If people unknowingly hold false misunderstandings of situations from the start, they will be inclined to defend their beliefs against any subsequent, contrary information.
Similarly, if a person feels very strongly about something, by whatever his or her views may be influenced (nature, internally-held beliefs, popular views or beliefs derived from schools of thought), he or she will vehemently defend these beliefs even if they can be proven false.
Jacourt believes prejudice can also originate from passion. The amount of interest a person holds for a particular subject certainly can influence judgment. We like what we like and get very defensive when our feelings are questioned or shunned. We will deceive ourselves, so we can continue to live in our fragile little bubbles even if it means we hold some prejudices.

1 Comments:

Blogger DenieseW2004 said...

This reader response is really good! It is very thorough. I think you touched on every main point that Jaucourt made in his article. One thing that I thought was really good about your response was that you used direct quotes from the text and also that you explained any ideas that may have been ambiguous. Your writing is very reader friendly! One thing that I would like to ask about your article has to do with the end when you mentioned that people like their "little bubbles". In the text, Jaucourt ends by talking about how each man "constructs in his brain a small universe, of which he is the center..." Is that what you were writing about? If so, that is a really good modern-day translation! I think you did a great job on this.

8:38 AM  

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