I imagine the reader skipping my manifesto of good judgement with that old feeling of «I know, I know!" that of course, to have a good judgement you have a good logic.
Well, not so! Whoever reduces good judgement to good logic did not understand a thing from what I am trying to do.
Certainly, good logic - sound statements that follow and notions that make sense - are the warrant of mental sanity we all need; wise or simply normal*.
Nevertheless, what I understand by "good judgement" is necessarily wider and quite different, a particular way of thinking in the frame of a human person's real life.
Good judgement is the cluster of live thought processes that fits the life-world of humans as it actually is: flowing, contextual, socially interactive and based on culture and common sense.
I see good judgement as considering significant and integrating in its reasoning the presence of received ideas, the trust in long chains of witnessing and mediated informing, values, feelings, beliefs unquestioned, ignorances, diverging interests and interpersonal or group transactions.
Without including interpretations of experience, culture and psychology given equal value and notice, good logic is no good in the real life of people and nations.
Good logic, which I can only admire and try to emulate, is mandatory at the core of good thought and decision, as a watchdog of realism and consistency; but it cannot replace the connection, the immersion of the thinker in the informality of actual human reality. Clean propositional logic cannot supplant the richness and finesse of judging with good sense, nor its effectiveness. The internal core of (somewhat informal) proper logic so useful to educate, is surrounded, wrapped, assimilated, into a connection with the human side of our life-world, able to understand human reality as people live it or as they conceive to live it.
Good judgement takes place in an internal language and progress of common sense representations, notions and short-hand reasoning procedures, validated by socialisation; when shared with other people, it takes the form of communication people can understand, with content they can use.
Good judgement cannot be reduced to processing precise data, empirical knowledge and truth; it becomes "good" by considering the practical and artificial references, landmarks and informal procedures people use to position themselves, adjust, think and take everyday decisions, then to follow them in practice. This complicated process takes place imprecisely and quickly, in real time, on one's feet, on incomplete information, but it works quite well, better for the time being than the clean logic driven response of the best artificial intelligence. This was understood by the engineers faster than the psychologists; now artificial intelligence works to imitate our "sloppy" efficiency in poorly defined fields.
The priority for good judgement is to connect relevant fact and action needed with that which counts and makes sense for people.
There is a willed bias in good judgement to advise and help the specific interest of specific people, like yourself, with preferred values at work.
Good judgement is not meant to serve precision, perfection or truth above the human interest of living safe and better. The values taking precedence are usefulness, success, goodness, survival life, peace, flourishing and the like.
What good judgement is definitely not is "pre-judgement", thought readily received or set in advance, to be forced upon local or new goals, circumstances and events. Reducing surprise to rigid past solutions, cutting down newness to the technically handy size and notions of dogma is contrary to good judgement.
Forcing unruly, fuzzy reality-in-movement onto a Procustean bed of hard and slow thinking rules set in advance, can only be foolish, not wise. Generality imposed on the particular, dogma, utopias, are contrary to good judgement. They are usually absurd or stupid.
Good judgement is people-minded reasoning that functions in the actual Umwelt, the life-space of knowing and acting accessible to the human being. Judgement is good when it foresees usefully, without horses blinkers, the multiple choice of scenarios of that which may and will actually happen; it is good if it protects with prudence and it succeeds to help.
Good judgement is proven when a successful navigator of the everyday and also of the unexpected, of the exceptional, of the yet unknown.
If needed, good judgement provides means to create something new; new ways around obstacles, new interpretation and new names propitious to master things and events, instead of being dominated by them. If we are to build or create new reality it is by good judgement, certainly not by emaciated un-human utopia.
Good judgement is watchful with the garbage-in garbage-out vulnerability of the formal procedures and processes of judgement. It does not help at all to be precise and correct in processing and deciding, based on reality incompletely and poorly perceived, understood and named; even less on dogmatic decisions ignoring the human factor.
Good judgement is interpreting its own perception, mindful of the relevant at work, not reduced to the politically correct or the scientifically correct pretence.
The miraculous, creative entry point of good judgement is to observe, with the adequate "granularity" with an open mind, to sense what counts and to name it or rename it in felicitous ways.
The "wise one" will understand better than other people what things mean here and now and also in the long term and a much wider view. This frame is higher or deeper, N+-1, thus freer that standard, precise but frozen definitions and propositions. I would say that often good judgement starts well indeed with a moment when the thinker exclaims "Aha!" when he suddenly sees falling into one meaningful picture the components of a Gestalt, a configuration where a useful itinerary makes sense. Observation limited by definitions and available instruments, presents choices often given to diminish choice or produced by disconnected stupidity.
If you want to read more about this second pillar of wisdom...
* Exception from this, for the wise one, is only when everybody around is taken by madness. Then it is wise to adapt and survive.