Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reflection on Judgment: #1

To think is to judge.

Every time we perceive an object, every instant we contemplate an idea, our minds must process any and all new information into our existing classifications and ways of thinking. For instance, when I drive on a new road, I add it to the mental map of the area in my head.

Thinking about new information entails evaluating that new information.

There are several aspects of this evaluating process. For instance, to determine the weight we place in our conclusions, we must judge the relative significance of the information itself, the reliability of the source, the quantity of similar evidences, and a host of other factors

Even when we consciously choose to reserve judgment on information or ideas, we continue to make judgments. We judge that the data set we're drawing from lacks sufficient breadth or depth to justify an ultimate (or even penultimate) evaluation. We judge that we can postpone that ultimate evaluation without serious consequences. We must even judge the relative importance and probability of acquiring further information that might help us make that ultimate evaluation, to determine how assiduously we will work at it.

Judgments are the means of thought.

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