Partially informed opinions

If someone asks you what your favourite food is and you think about it for a moment and then say “Pizza” did you make a decision after having tried every food? Of course not. It probably is your favourite food but you haven’t been exposed to every food. You haven’t tried every food there is to try so you can’t have made a decision fully aware of all of the possibilities. This is what it is like anytime we make a decision. There are millions of possibilities we can’t consider in any moment because we have never been exposed to them. We don’t know what we don’t know.

When we contemplate any situation from food to politics or transport to philosophy we are drawing on a pool of information that is limited to things we have learnt and not forgotten. How can we really be certain that any of our beliefs are true or our opinions well founded when there are more things we have learnt and forgotten then there are things we can remember in the moment right now?

It is very difficult for anyone to be exposed to enough information on most subjects to come to a truly informed opinion and we couldn’t function in a normal society if we have to take in every fact before a decision is made. But that does not mean we shouldn’t try a little harder or wait a little longer while exposing ourselves to as many varied ideas as possible before committing to an opinion 100%.

If we have only been exposed to a fraction of the facts and opinions in the world how can we really be so certain of ourselves?

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