In his book Making Judgments Without Being Judgmental, Terry Cooper distinguishes healthy judgment and judgmentalism by pointing to seven key distinctives (these are from Table 2.1, p. 28). The first distinctive is that healthy judgment is characerized by concern, whereas judgmentalism does not reflect concern for others. The second distinctive is that healthy judgment trusts others until given a reason not to; judgmentalism reads the minds of others, particularly motives. Third, healthy judgment reflects tolerance such that one holds moral concepts but does so in (with) love; judgmentalism holds onto moral concepts with intolerance toward others.
The fourth distinctive Terry Cooper identifies is that healthy judgment denounces behavior or ideas but not people; judgmentalism denounces the person. The fifth distinctive is that healthy judgment is open, recognizing tensions with a person’s own posiiton, while judgmentalism is characterized by “absolute certainty” (p. 28). Sixth, healthy judgment takes time – it is reasoned over time, while judgmentalism is reflected in quick or rash decisions based often in emotion. Finally, healthy judgment is unafraid of a careful decision-making process; judgmentalism is found in unreflective thinking.
For reflection: Do these capture the essential differences between healthy judgment and judgmentalism? Are there other distinctives that are missing from this analysis? Can you think of practical examples of any of these characteristics of either healthy judgment or judgmentalism?