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"All of the facts"

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by KAT-KAT, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. KAT-KAT

    KAT-KAT Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible to make a decision having all of the facts? And if not, what causes us to make a decision?
     
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  2. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    The limitations of being fallible humans precludes us of ever knowing ALL of the facts.
     
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  3. Eyes to See

    Eyes to See Active Member

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    You can only make a good decision with accurate knowledge of a subject. With no knowledge, or wrong information, you will probably make a poor decision.

    There is a wise proverb that says:

    Plans fail when there is no consultation,
    But there is accomplishment through many advisers
    .-Proverbs 15:22.

    Shunadragon's comment above mine is right no human could ever know everything. That is why even leaders such as the President of the United States has a Cabinet. A wise President would choose wise and learned people to fill his Cabinet to help him make wise decisions.

    The best way to make good decisions is to go to the Bible and get God's view on things, and pray to him in prayer for wisdom. He promises to give to all wisdom that ask it of him and he does so without reproach.

    Too many times though, people reject Godly wisdom, and turn to futile and worthless philosophy and propaganda of men and false religion. This will inevitably lead you to make poor life choices that will lead to disastrous consequences.
     
  4. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Yes, in certain situations. In most cases though we have imperfect information/don't have all the facts.We make decisions in situations of certainty, risk and uncertainty.

    Certainty is when we make a decision with perfect information (and no possibility of cognitive errors). This tends to be in structured and highly limited situations. For example if I go into a restaurant with the intention of choosing the cheapest food on the menu, with sufficient effort I can be certain I am going to be correct.

    Risk is when you can put a rough probability on being correct, even though you have imperfect information (and the possibility of cognitive error,) For example: How should I play this blackjack hand if I'm on 15 and dealer is showing an Ace?

    Uncertainty is when we lack the information to be able to put a rough probability on the options (and may be affected by cognitive errors). For example an airline trying to make a plan for the next 5 years factoring in the COVID harm to the industry.

    We make decisions using reasoned judgment and/or intuition or heuristics (experience based rules of thumb). The more uncertain the situation the more we rely on the latter 2.
     
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  5. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    Technically, sure. I might decide what I'm eating for lunch today, constraining myself to whatever is in the pantry. I look in the pantry, I have the facts, I make a decision.

    But the larger decisions are never driven by 'facts' alone. I changed jobs last year. The factual part of the decision making was around money. I was comparing multiple offers, and that was a common measure of which offer was 'better'. Even then, it was hard to align, due to bonus schemes, moving costs (multiple offers were overseas) and the like.

    But that was as close to a fact-based measure as I had. Everything else was subjective. Which workplace seemed to best fit my personality? What would a 'normal' day look like in each role? How would my family adjust to moving overseas? How would my family adjust to not being able to move overseas (I moved to a local company, rather than an international). Which business offered a better career path? Would I need to manage people? What sort of people were they?

    I mean...you get the idea. Almost NOTHING in that decision making process was factual to me, and I certainly didn't take the one offering the most money, which was the one clear fact.

    In terms of how we make a decision...well...this is very ballpark, but...

    1) I tend to think of things in terms of cognitive dissonance, but you can look at it as a change agent or whatever. There is something which results in a decision needing to be made. In my case, I was dissatisfied with certain aspects of my current job (not everything, by any means) so I started to at least casually consider options.

    2) As part of that process, I gathered as much information as I could. Most of that information was subjective, anecdotal, or what might be called 'gut-feel'. Some was also reactionary. (as in 'Well, working for a large multinational is frustrating me due to administrative tasks...going to a smaller local business might reduce that burden'. I had no real idea if it would.)

    3) Subjectively, I made a decision. I wanted to move, was the first. And of the choices I had, what was choice A, and what parameters would lead me to actually follow through? (in my case this was things like money, family's blessing, etc)

    4) I ended up changing my mind based on some of the details which came to life, and went to Plan B. So far seems to have turned out pretty well. Hard to look at all this as a fact-based decision making process though.
     
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  6. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    We rarely have all the facts. We make decisions on multiple factors (most of them unconscious). There are
    - Time (do I have a deadline to make the decision)
    - Cost (do I want to invest in gathering more information)
    - Importance (does my life depend on the decision or is it mostly inconsequential)
    - Credulity (the personal threshold when we are comfortable to judge on insufficient information)
    - Bias (do we want something to be true?)
    Good decision making takes these factors into conscious consideration.
     
  7. Tambourine

    Tambourine Radical Felinist

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    Psychologically speaking, we often tend to make decisions before we know most of the facts, as a result of intuition or gut instinct, and then use the facts to justify our decisions after the fact (pun unintended).
     
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  8. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    Yes. I would say that's likely the best scenario for decision making.

    Prediction and calculation of benefit and risk.

    If I'm driving, at 60 miles per hour, and another car is coming at me head-on, I have to make a decision. I don't have all the facts. I don't know know if, when, or in which direction the other car will swerve, if the driver is asleep, drunk, inattentive, or suicidal, or if there's even a driver at all, so I have to calculate risk and benefit. In my mind, I would calculate the most likely scenario would be it would not swerve at all. The second most likely scenario would be that it would swerve to the right back into it's own lane. So without all the facts, I make the decision to swerve to the right predicting based on calculations of the limited facts I do have to avoid a collision.
     
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