Avoiding foolish opinions is a critical aspect of critical thinking and rational decision-making. In a world saturated with information and opinions, the ability to sift through and discern what is valid, well-founded, and reliable is of utmost importance. Read More Inter 2nd Year English Summaries.
How to Avoid Foolish Opinions Summary
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell OM FRS (18 May 1872 February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, and public intellectual.
Few of his notable works in English:
1896. German Social Democracy. London: Longmans, Green
1903. A Free man’s worship, and other essays.
1905. On Denoting, Mind, Vol. 14. ISSN 0026-4423. Basil Blackwell
1910. Philosophical Essays. London: Longmans, Green
1916. Why Men Fight. New York: The Century Co
1927. The Analysis of Matter. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner
1969. Dear Bertrand Russell… A Selection of his Correspondence with the General Public
1950-1968, edited by Barry Feinberg and Ronald Kasrils. London: George Allen and Unwin
Bertrand Russell’s essay, “How to Avoid Foolish Opinions” is a thought-provoking essay the author talks about people’s opinions and how we might avoid the foolish ones. He tells us to keep our beliefs in check, and elaborates about controversies and customs. He also mentions things that affect people’s opinions, such as self-esteem and Foolish opinions and how we might get past them.
To avoid foolish opinions, no superhuman genius is required. A few simple rules will keep us from silly error. If the matter can be settled by observation, we must make the observation ourselves. Aristotle could have avoided thinking, women have fever teeth than man. If he told Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted, thinking that we know something when in fact we don’t is a big mistake. Many matters are less easily brought to the test of experience. If an opinion opposite to our own makes us angry, it is sign that we actually have no good reason for our opinion. If someone has very stupid and wrong opinions, we feel pity rather than anger.
The worst controversies are about matters which have no good evidence either way. A good way of ridding ourselves of certain kinds of rigid beliefs is to become aware of opinions held in social circles different from our own. If we cannot travel, we should find people with whom we disagree and read newspapers belonging to a party that is not ours. But becoming aware of foreign customs does not always have benefits.
For those with good imagination, it is a good plan to imagine an argument with a person having a different opinion. Mahatma Gandhi disliked railways and stem boats and machinery and would have liked to undo the industrial revolution. In western countries most people take the advantage of modern technology for granted. So it is rare to find someone with this opinion. But to make sure we are right, disagreeing with this opinion, it is a good plan to test the arguments by considering what Gandhi might have said to them.
We should be very wary of opinions that halter our self-steem. Both man and women are very convinced of the excellence of their own “Sex”. there is abundant evidence on both sides. The question actually can not be solved, but self-esteem hides this from most people. All people are convinced that their own nation is the best. Again there is no right answer to the question about the best nation. The only way of dealing with this general human vanity is to remind ourselves that man is a short episode in the life of small planet in a little corner of universe, and other parts of cosmos may contain beings much superior.
We must avoid blindly believing anything without concrete reason. We should confirm the things that we can with observation and hear out the opinions of other people regarding controversial topics. Self-esteem greatly affects opinion but it can be checked by remaining ourselves of our place in the universe.
In conclusion, the ability to avoid foolish opinions is a valuable skill that empowers individuals to engage with the world thoughtfully and responsibly. By applying principles such as critical thinking, skepticism, and a commitment to evidence-based reasoning, people can navigate the complexities of the information age more effectively.