Thursday, March 01, 2018

Willful ignorance, morality, and the right to our opinion

Is someone who is being willfully ignorant behaving immorally? If so, what happens the our so-called right to our opinion?

9 comments:

One Brow said...

Even if you grant the first clause, and you grant that opinions can be formed from willful ignorance, you have a right to behave immorally, as long as it is legal.

bmiller said...

I wonder how people define "willful ignorance".

Does it mean that they are "willfully ignorant" if they still disagree with me no matter how much I yell at them and punish them?

SteveK said...

Not sure about willful ignorance (do I need to know about every cake recipe?), but acting willfully irrational is immoral.

Miguel said...

Yes. There is no positive right to ignorance. Falsity, evil and ignorance are never on par with truth, good and wisdom, and there is no right to err; evil and lies have no rights, the entire idea would be an absurd chimera. This does not mean we don't or shouldn't have freedom of speech or of religion, however. That I defend a false or bad idea doesn't entail that I can be coerced by the State or other people, because my human dignity precludes me from being babysat in such a manner by the State or suffer coercion simply because I have wrong opinions, or even if I am a willful idiot. As Jacques Maritain recognized, when it comes to religious liberty (and we can extend it also to freedom of speech), one musn't conflate the object with the subject; because a false view by itself can have no positive right to exist, it doesn't mean that the person who utters or spreads such views can be coerced. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

2108 The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error,37 but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right.38

But also

2104 "All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it."26 This duty derives from "the very dignity of the human person."27 It does not contradict a "sincere respect" for different religions which frequently "reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men,"28 nor the requirement of charity, which urges Christians "to treat with love, prudence and patience those who are in error or ignorance with regard to the faith."29



As for the question, I think yes, being willfully ignorant can be immoral, but this needn't imply any problems for freedom of opinion, because such a freedom should be understood as being founded on (and protecting) the dignity of the human person; someone may be willfully ignorant and say false things, but this does not by itself make it permissible to coercefully stop them or anything like that.

Legion of Logic said...

Whether or not willful ignorance could be immoral, what is definitely immoral is giving anyone or any government or organization the ability to punish someone else for it. Who would you trust to reliably discern between willful ignorance and honest disagreement? Would such a distinction even exist anymore?

bmiller said...

Gentlemen,

The context of the OP was from the other thread where Hugo laid out why he thought conservatives should be opposed and spoken to harshly(?) if they oppose gay marriage.

After giving his reasoning he concluded:
Anything else is nothing but stupidity or willful ignorance.

I think the question was directed to Hugo. If he thought people who disagree with him are immoral if they have a different opinion.

Joe Hinman said...

What is an opinion? is it just propaganda? Or is it what we really think?

see my blog unrelated topic

I am The Zapata of Temporal theory

What is the relationship of God to time and how does that effect God;s relationship to the world and our lives?

Joe Hinman said...

As for the question, I think yes, being willfully ignorant can be immoral, but this needn't imply any problems for freedom of opinion, because such a freedom should be understood as being founded on (and protecting) the dignity of the human person; someone may be willfully ignorant and say false things, but this does not by itself make it permissible to coercefully stop them or anything like that.

I agree. I think all moral questions will, in the final analysis reduce to matters of the individual, the heart,and God.

Joe Hinman said...

part 2 o my temporal theory thing

a thought in the ind of God