19 Jan 2017

Having an opinion doesn't mean you're right

H/T to enviroecon

Note to readers: Someone said it was "a little annoying" that I sometimes point out when I'm right ("like an economist would"), but I only do this because I am constantly checking on myself, to see if I'm understanding how current trends will turn out or if people will gravitate towards a position or belief. I make claims or predictions in the same way as you might place a bet or buy shares. Those actions force you to face black and white changes in your wallet, which tend to percolate up to the brain. I also, of course, try to admit when I am wrong (help me out if I don't!) or when I've changed my mind. This is not just a useful lesson in humility; it's a good way to help people see that you're willing to face facts.

I talk about being right or wrong in public (and on the blog) because my professional/public intellectual reputation depends on (a) being right, (b) learning from mistakes and (c) separating opinion from fact.

I'm curious how you deal with being right or wrong -- or do you never take a side that loses?


Anonymous said...

good one, and i really like the take on the cartoon on the 9 and the 6. PH, who can also be annoying.

Thomas Oberhäuser said...

In a not scientific world it is negligible if something is “true or false”. In your private area everything can be “true”. And no one has the right to correct this. - But where are the transition areas? You have five persons who build an airplane. When this is “science”, then they should know “the same” about building a plane. They should share the same source of knowledge. - But on the other hand, every statement about the world is a private perspective related to a bunch of “facts” someone has assembled.

David Zetland said...

I think you're mixing up subjective and objective. For subjective, "true" is not the word to use, but "belief". For objective, read more here.

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