Second-handed questions vs. rational questions

Roark in The Fountainhead:

“That, precisely, is the deadliness of second-handers. They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. They’re concerned only with people. They don’t ask: ‘Is this true?’ They ask: ‘Is this what others think is true?’

“Is this what others think is true?” has many forms. The following are attempts to capture the essence of the linked second-handed example in question form, and present an alternate, rational question – a form of “Is this true?” – that could be asked instead. The examples are drawn from this thread.

Second-handed question Rational question
Is he peer reviewed? Do his ideas make sense?
Who does he think he is (to disagree with everyone)? Do his arguments make sense?
Do people recognize this person as bad? Is this person bad according to some objective standard?
Can I ignore this person due to their low status? How should I engage with this person in light of my own values and goals?
Is this game popular?  Is this game fun (according to some rational standard)?
What meals would look good on my instagram?  What meals would I enjoy eating?
Are prestigious people using this app? Will this app help me achieve some goal or value of mine?
What coat would people approve of?  What coat would keep me warm?
What will people think of the increasing deaths? How can we keep people alive?
Will people think I’m being alarmist about the virus? Is the virus a serious threat to the lives of millions of people?

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