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What's So Wrong with Being Absolutely Right: The Dangerous Nature of Dogmatic Belief Paperback – September 23, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 579 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (September 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591026571
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591026570
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A powerful and fascinating work that reads like a book for a general audience, but maintains all the rigor of a serious scientific publication… I urge any reader wishing to understand why so many people (many of whom you’ve met, or are perhaps related to) insist on replacing clear thinking with dogmatism. Ms. Johnson’s book is a major achievement."
--Steven Goldberg, Professor Emeritus of City College, City University of New York
and author of Fads and Fallacies in The Social Sciences

"Dr. Johnson ably confronts one of the most pressing dangers of our time, dogmatic thinking in all its forms. This important and timely examination of its roots, the processes involved, and possible societal remedies will be interest to all who value reason, and should be required reading for anyone dealing with the many enemies of reason on society's behalf."
--Professor James Alcock, PhD, Department of Psychology, Glendon College,
York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

About the Author

Judy J. Johnson (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) is professor of psychology at Mount Royal College and the author of Suicide Intervention Program: A Group Facilitator’s Manual.

More About the Author

Judy J. Johnson, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and professor emerita in the Department of Psychology at Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta. Prior to teaching at MRU, she was the supervisor of a therapy program at the Holy Cross Hospital, Calgary, AB. Aside from MRU students, she has taught psychology to Palestinian students in Gaza during the intifadehs of 1991 and 1992, to native women on the Sarcee Reserve, and to inmates and correctional officers in Canada's provincial and federal penitentiaries.

Dr. Johnson has received a Distinguished Teaching award from MRU, published several articles, and given many talks on dogmatism to the general public and academic audiences at Cambridge University, the Canadian Psychological Association, Kwantlen University, University of Kansas, and the Center for Inquiry, Buffalo, NY. She has been interviewed with Dr. John Jost, Psychology Professor at New York University, on Equal Time for Equal Thought, WBAI in New York city.

For further information on publications and presentations, please visit her website at www.dogmatism.ca.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Van Lit on September 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
The title caught my attention when I was walking through the old (since 1932) Harvard Bookstore on a rainy morning in May.
My first thought was, there's another catchy book title, but what will the book really entail?
The subtitle: ¡§the dangerous nature of dogmatic belief¡¨ intrigued me and after glancing through it I got the impression that it was a valuable piece of work. The dimensions of dogmatic behavior are explained from various angles. Judy Johnson uses the following definition of dogmatism: ¡§dogmatism is a personality trait that combines cognitive, emotional and behavioral characteristics to personify prejudicial, close-minded belief systems that are pronounced with a rigid certainty¡¨. She builds her thesis regarding dogmatism on 13 characteristics, divided over cognitive, emotional and behavioral traits. Using a number of cases all these characteristics are explained in-depth and her proposition is that when 6 of these 13 characteristics are present in a recognizable way in a person then dogmatic behavior is more likely.
In the second half Jonah appears and using his life, which is immersed in dogmatism, Judy Johnson approaches dogmatism from a broad variety of psychological and philosophical angles. Themes are ¡§Theories of evolution¡¨, ¡§Our neuronal hardware¡¨, ¡§Psychodynamic perspectives¡¨, ¡§Humanistic, existential contribution¡¨ and even the very interesting chapter ¡§Buddhist philosophy¡¨. The relation between dogmatic behavior and anxiety plays an important role. The finishing chapter ¡§Where to go from here? carries a subtitle ¡§Open-minded optimism¡¨ but for the real dogmatic that's easier said than done.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
WHAT'S SO WRONG WITH BEING ABSOLUTELY RIGHT: THE DANGEROUS NATURE OF DOGMATIC BELIEF uses traditional and modern personality theories, biopsychology, and social learning theories to discuss dogmatism and its traits. While this easily could have been featured in our 'Health' section, it's reviewed here for its wider importance to social science libraries as well, holding important keys linking psychology and belief systems to educational, political and social trends. A key acquisition for any college-level social science library.
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1 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Carbonell on July 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a topic that interests me: why are people dogmatic about things? Dogmatism is not something specific to political creed, but to people's thoughts and actions. Sounds like a good premise for a book. Except, that there Johnson's text includes too much social commentary. She mentions that she will get this exhortation out of the way in the Introduction, but she doesn't. She's not dogmatic about it (that would be delicious irony), but there's enough of it to distract. (I read the first few chapters at a bookstore and leafed through the rest to see if it were a keeper: it wasn't.)
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