Speaking while ignorant is a common problem. Understanding its causes can help us both recognize ignorant speech and avoid it.
Context can be hard to come by, especially because we tend to project our preconceived ideas and make snap-judgments. We turn to two ideas from classical Chinese philosophy, to fight these bad habits and help resolve some problems they create.
Context lets us read charitably. Reading charitably keeps us from becoming trolls, through decontextualization. We consider three examples of decontextualization, dealing with history, science, and cyber security – and how simple knowledge of context discredits the claims entirely.
An idea without the context is like an answer without the question: generally meaningless on its own. By asking 6 questions, we can establish the context and protect ourselves from bad ideas – our own, or someone else’s.