Considerations before purchasing, accepting advice for acting, or adopting an intellectual position–far more controversial than it appears!

  • Does it involve a need or a desire? Perhaps there is not sufficient incentive for making the purchase (for acting or for changing one’s mind).
  • Does it match its advertising? Is it what it claims to be?
  • Does it have a long record of success? Why commit to something that doesn’t?
  • Does it have many good, qualified, and reputable reviews?
  • Are authoritative sources of information available? Are those sources free from conflicts of interest? While the salesperson’s information might be sound, given their financial interest, it’s prudent to double-check it. “Follow the money.”
  • Has it been rigorously tested for an adequate period of time, perhaps being approved or licensed by all relevant agencies?
  • Have studies/tests/arguments against it been fairly and openly evaluated, with counter-points rationally overcome, or has counter-evidence been suppressed (blacklisting, digital book burning, de-platforming, intimidation)?
  • Do (or would) those advocating for it trust it themselves?
  • Is irrational persuasion used, through informal logical fallacies? E.g., Appeal to the People (everyone’s doing it), Appeal to Force (agree or I’ll call you names and get you fired), Appeal to Pity (given his plight, what he says must be true), False Authority (the physicist says this medical treatment is sound, so it must be), Slippery Slope (if you do x, y will happen, then, heaven forbid, z will happen–but unlikely)….
  • Is one being unduly pressured to act quickly? Some decisions must be made soon; is there good reason for believing this is one of them?
  • What is the likelihood of future positive or adverse consequences occurring to one’s self or to others? Does it set a bad precedent or lead to future unethical behavior? Do its advantages offset its disadvantages, risks, or cost?
  • Was it created unethically? Perhaps I should choose not to purchase a product from a business I know treats its animals or workers inhumanely (over crowded dens or slavery) , or that created or derived it unethically (harvesting organs from prisoners).

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