Bay Area Less Wrong Meetup Message Board › On judging people

On judging people

A former member
Post #: 1
In the email, Robin said:
Ana: First, I would like to avoid making this group too political, let's at least tell ourselves to judge people by rationality first, then politics.

But how can we judge a persons rationality if not by the conclusions they reach? You might say "judge him by how he arrived at those conclusions", and true, that is a possibility, but that method is often quite costly. I'd say judging them by the conclusions they reach on various questions is a pretty cost-effective substitute.

For example, if someone in this group said to you "I believe Mormonism is true", wouldn't it be fair to surmise that he probably isn't very rational? Surely you wouldn't say "I would like to avoid making this group too pro/anti-religious, let's at least tell ourselves to judge people by rationality first, then religion.

If I am right about my last point, why can't we also judge people by their politics? After all, their politics is just another set of conclusions they have come to.
Richard K.
Nitpicker
Santa Rosa, CA
Post #: 1
I suggest we should not judge people. Several holy books agree, saying something like 'Judge not, lest ye be judged.' Much better, and even less offensive if we judge only their decisions, where at least we can try to collect most of their criteria and perhaps even observe their technology for choosing.

"Dialogue Mapping" by Jeff Conklin, derived from the Issue Based Information System (IBIS) lets one collect the wisdom of multiple people on given questions. Each question can have multiple answers, each answer supported and refuted by multiple observations. This form is thus indexed by the questions and is easier to follow than most arguments are when expressed in essay form.

I suggest one's position on abortion might be influenced by the knowledge that the crime rate declined abruptly in this country in the mid nineties, twenty some years after Roe V Wade. Guess where a bunch of our criminals come from: unwanted children. I would rather know if they knew that fact before deciding how well they chose their position.
Phil
user 5722003
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 4
In the email, Robin said:
Ana: First, I would like to avoid making this group too political, let's at least tell ourselves to judge people by rationality first, then politics.

But how can we judge a persons rationality if not by the conclusions they reach? You might say "judge him by how he arrived at those conclusions", and true, that is a possibility, but that method is often quite costly. I'd say judging them by the conclusions they reach on various questions is a pretty cost-effective substitute.

For example, if someone in this group said to you "I believe Mormonism is true", wouldn't it be fair to surmise that he probably isn't very rational? Surely you wouldn't say "I would like to avoid making this group too pro/anti-religious, let's at least tell ourselves to judge people by rationality first, then religion.

If I am right about my last point, why can't we also judge people by their politics? After all, their politics is just another set of conclusions they have come to.

Judging based on conclusions certainly can save time, but it sets you up to make rash conclusions yourself. Certain conclusions immediately give a good indication that an individual had some form of irrationality in their thinking, such as believing in the literal interpretation of Genesis. For those, it seems wise to save yourself some time unless they immediately provide a compelling rational argument to support the conclusion.

Jumping to conclusions by judging others based on a label that they place to sum up a set of beliefs can lead to problems such as having different interpretations of what the label entails with it. To say that one is "Republican" really doesn't say much to us. Does that mean he absolutely agrees with everything George Bush said? Does he generally agree in principle with the Republicans, but disagrees with them in their approach? Does he agree with only a few of the tenets and figures it's enough for him to label himself as one of them? There are plenty of secular Jews. One might be tempted to assume that because he calls himself "Jewish" he must believe in the Torah when he's really only interested in the culture.

This approach also seems to take a greater-than-thou position in that it assumes that one's current position is clearly so much more logical that it doesn't need to delve deeper into other processes of thought. Lastly, irrationality in one area doesn't necessarily mean that one cannot provide valuable rational feedback in other areas.

Being that humans have limited time and mental capacities, we must to some degree generalize. But we need to watch out for falling into the ad hominem trap ourselves.
Phillip w.
user 10392450
Milpitas, CA
Post #: 13
In the email, Robin said:
Ana: First, I would like to avoid making this group too political, let's at least tell ourselves to judge people by rationality first, then politics.

But how can we judge a persons rationality if not by the conclusions they reach? You might say "judge him by how he arrived at those conclusions", and true, that is a possibility, but that method is often quite costly. I'd say judging them by the conclusions they reach on various questions is a pretty cost-effective substitute.

For example, if someone in this group said to you "I believe Mormonism is true", wouldn't it be fair to surmise that he probably isn't very rational? Surely you wouldn't say "I would like to avoid making this group too pro/anti-religious, let's at least tell ourselves to judge people by rationality first, then religion.

If I am right about my last point, why can't we also judge people by their politics? After all, their politics is just another set of conclusions they have come to.



No, I disagree. Rationality is best be thought of as how we arrive at justified beliefs. For example, a belief P is justified if the rational agent S can come to give evidences in support for P. However, evidences that any agent have in support of P is of course contingent, varies. That is S can have a justified belief of P such that P is false.



Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy