MNQ | Monday’s Noontide Query: Personal Ideology


We would all like to imagine that we think and act objectively, motivated by common sense and rationality, but I suspect that despite this, we are all very much ruled by our personal ideologies, political, religious, economic and so on, those set of worldviews, subjective systems of beliefs, assumptions, and values unique and deeply important to all of us.

My own ideology places a high premium on reason, evidence, and to the extent it may be found, a concern for the truth born out by the whatever the facts turn out to be.

I operate on the assumption that the world is comprehensible, that it is knowable, real, and to an extent, uniform — changing, but doing to according to descriptive natural laws more or less well understood.

I’m quite aware that these are assumptions, and that I cannot fully logically justify them, but they are assumptions that for now seem to work very well, so I bite the proverbial bullet and dismiss my need for certainty in my understanding of the world, allowing that I may only know anything at all as more or less probable, not certainly, not definitively.

Without the need for full certainty in my knowledge, I set my sights low and prevent disappointment when that lofty goal of complete closure cannot be had.

And it most consistently cannot…

After all, why give up tools that continue to give results, to achieve my objectives so reliably as they have without reason?

Why dismiss the value of reason and evidence as means of assessing what we can really say we know?

Part of critical thinking is being aware of and working to compensate for the biases that come with most ideologies, using methodological, not philosophical, skepticism to offset them if not eliminate them as factors that could confound any attempt to inquire into matters objectively.

After all, that’s the whole point of double-blind testing in science — to control for bias and vested interest which could skew the results of a study, and it’s not something that only scientists can do, but any of us can if we take the time and effort to learn.

So,

To what extent do you think any objectivity is possible despite personal ideology.

Do you feel that all objectivity is fatally unattainable, that all is bias?

Do you think that any ideology can truly be conducive to objective understanding?

If so, which one, and why?

MNQ is a question that I pose to you, my readers, and is posted each Monday at 12:00 PM. Do feel free to comment, and don’t worry yerselves overmuch… I’m not an ogre and I don’t bite…much.

About Troy Loy

I seek to learn through this site and others how to better my ability as a person and my skill at using my reason and understanding to best effect. I do fractal artwork as a hobby, and I'm working to develop it to professional levels, though I've a bit to go till I reach that degree of skill! This is a crazy world we're in, but maybe I can do a little, if only that, to make it a bit more sane than it otherwise would be.

Posted on Monday, 12:00, December 5, 2011, in Queries & Inquiry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. At the risk of over simplification- I try not to make decisions based on emotions. Although,I do try to do my best to be guided by compassion for others. I am non-theistic. I guess you could say I follow this tenet- “What you think, you become.”
    I also am fairly skeptical about many things. I realize this is as clear as mud. Sorry!

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    • You’re coming across very clearly to me, I think. With me it’s a question of whether many well-known rationalists just happen to have similar views to mine, or whether they do because reading them has earlier influenced my ways of thinking. Thanks for signing up for the contest earlier, BTW

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  2. Objectivity must be desired before it can be possessed. Most ideologues don’t have this desire — it is antithetical to their ideas.
    Therefore, the degree of objectivity is contingent on the strength of the desire (the quality of the objectivity would likely be determined by various cognitive skills, life skills and experience, and knowledge of the subject).
    Perhaps only an ideology of objectivity would be conducive to objective understanding, however, I would prefer to call objectivity a “value” rather an ideology (which has dogmatic connotations). After all, a Catholic or an atheist can both exhibit objectivity while retaining their ideology (maybe not for all matters, but for many, such as when discussing gravity or chemical reactions or the like).
    I would suggest that objectivity erodes all ideologies to some extent — Catholic dogma has made numerous accomodations to science, for instance. But I think the extent of the erosion is determined at the personal level — in practice, at least — so it is hard to say any particular ideology is innately more objective than the other. I would be inclined to say some ideologies have proponents with better epistemic values than the proponents of other ideologies.

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