Suffering from ... Epistemological Modesty?

Feeling spontaneous? You might be suffering from Epistemological Modesty.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Occasionally, some of us just don't know what to say. In the days when we wrote our thoughts down and sent them a week later, we had time to think things through, but between tweeting, emailing and texting, we all are expected to say what we think right now. Epistemological Modesty is the recognition that there is no right or wrong answer and that in truth most of us know very little about anything. Some people might argue that philosophical self-awareness is a good thing - if only we had more of it - but the fact is, the days of long ruminations are pretty much over and modesty is for wimps. Still, opine too quickly (under pressure, in a meeting) and the mind goes to fear mode and jumps to mostly the wrong conclusions. What's the answer? To quote a Japanese proverb: Don't study something: get used to it. Better not to speak at all than to make things up. So always write emails in draft and proofread your tweets.

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