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Criticism is Contextual

Criticism is contextual. The "same idea" as far as explicit content and the words it's expressed in, can have a different status (criticized, or not) depending on the context, because the idea might successfully solve one problem but not solve some other problem. So it's criticized in its capacity to solve that second problem, but not the first. This kind of thing is ubiquitous.

Example: you want to drive somewhere using a GPS navigator system. The routes your GPS navigator system gives you are often not the shortest, best routes. You have a criticism of the GPS navigator system.

Today, you want to drive somewhere. Should you use your GPS? Sure! Why not? Yes you had a criticism of it, but that criticism was contextual. You criticized it in the context of wanting shortest routes. But it's not criticized in the context of whether it will do a good job of getting you to today's destination (compared to the alternatives available). It could easily lead you to drive an extra hundred meters (maybe that's 0.1% more distance!) and still get you to your destination on time. Despite being flawed in some contexts, by some criteria, it could still get you there faster and easier than you would have done with manual navigation.

That there is a criticism of the GPS navigator system does not mean never to use it. Nor does it mean if you use it you're acting on refuted or criticized ideas. Criticism is contextual.

Elliot Temple on July 11, 2013

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