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No, You're not Entitled to Your Opinion

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http://theconversation.com/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978

Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. First, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning.

Secondly, I say something like this: “I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.’ Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, maybe to head off an argument or bring one to a close. Well, as soon as you walk into this room, it’s no longer true. You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.”

A bit harsh? Perhaps, but philosophy teachers owe it to our students to teach them how to construct and defend an argument – and to recognize when a belief has become indefensible.

The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.

Firstly, what’s an opinion?

Plato distinguished between opinion or common belief (doxa) and certain knowledge, and that’s still a workable distinction today: unlike “1+1=2” or “there are no square circles,” an opinion has a degree of subjectivity and uncertainty to it. But “opinion” ranges from tastes or preferences, through views about questions that concern most people such as prudence or politics, to views grounded in technical expertise, such as legal or scientific opinions. Read more...

What do you think? Do you think an uninformed opinion is, or should be, as valid as an informed opinion?

by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:33 PM
Replies (281-284):
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jan. 2, 2014 at 8:59 AM
1 mom liked this
You sound like a victim with a limited vocabulary.

Quoting SallyMJ:

Never. Libs/Progs are the Victicrats. And the oppressors.

Quoting LauraKW: You sound like such a victim.



Quoting SallyMJ:

In my undergraduate studies (a number of years ago, even), a sociology professor badmouthed Christians and men constantly.

In one of her most egregious tirades, she quoted a passage from the Bible that described a rape, murder, and desecration of the body of a woman by people described as evil/wicked. The passage was historical, described what happened, and said their actions were abominable. But the instructor didn't mention that part. She said "This is what Christians think about women." She did not allow opposing views in her class.

Instructors spoke about the principle of white privilege, even though they didn't use the name of the term. They spoke of the evil capitalistic system, and that socialism was far preferable. We students felt, quite accurately, I think, that our grades would suffer if we were to express conservative views.

In grad school, one instructor in particular constantly denigrated conservatives and Republicans, including conservative Supreme Court justices, presidents, members of Congress, Senators, and governors by name. It was pretty obvious what her positions were, and that opposing ones were not acceptable.

In a course offered through my employer, we studied Cultural Diversity, which included denigration of white people. I was forced to do a paper that echoed these progressive views in order to pass the class.

During the 2008 election cycle, employees at my company, including supervisors, managers, and even chief executives who were Obama supporters, actually wore Obama buttons and shirts to the medical office and hospitals of our nonprofit company, had public meetings and made public and departmental statements about pro-Obama and anti-McCain views, such that our CEO was compelled by legal counsel to send a series of company-wide communications warning employees that such demonstrations threatened our non-profit status, and that those who continued to do so would undergo discipline, possibly including termination. We conservatives did not feel comfortable discussing our political views, because of denigration by our fellow employees. It was such an oppressive environment, and made for a chilling of free speech.

Every year, we get a mandatory company-wide survey that asks for responses to statements such as, "I am valued for the diversity I bring to the organization." Do they mean diversity of thought? Probably not. The implication was racial diversity. I was not hired for my race. But the company wanted the answer to be Yes, with No being a bad answer they didn't want. So I always mark No. They also ask race. Whenever possible I mark "Decline to State" or secondarily "Other." When I applied for my job there, I didn't get either of those options. I told the person I didn't want to complete that question. He said if I didn't complete it, that he would look at me and guess at what the answer was. My company kept very strict records of the racial background of employees. What's the point, if a company is colorblind and fair to employees regardless of race?

So yes, I have experienced people in positions of authority imposing their liberal views on me, and stifling free speech, such that my opinion was not welcome.

And of course you've heard of the individuals who were required by their employers to participate in union support of political candidates they did not support, under the threat of workplace discipline.

And I see from your comments and from accounts from, and polls of other students that I am not the only one.

Quoting futureshock:


Quoting SallyMJ:

No, YOU'VE missed the point.

The teacher said: 

'The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned.'

That's pretty condescending to believe he is qualified to say what beliefs should be abandoned by his students - I'm guessing religious and political belief he disagrees with.

In that, he's hardly the first. I experienced it in college, lots of people I know experienced it - religious and/or conservative or libertarian politically - and their experiences are legion. How could you miss them? Maybe you're not paying attention. Maybe you really don't know any orthodox Christians (small "o"). Either one of those is astonishing for someone who believes themselves to be knowledgeable of others with ideological beliefs different from theirs.

Quoting LindaClement:

You've really missed the point.

It's teaching critical analysis of argument, rather than the lazy-minded and popular 'I heard in the pub' or 'some guy told me' or 'it stands to reason.'

It's not about providing the teacher with an argument she agrees with, but providing an argument that SUPPORTS THE STATEMENT.

I have no idea how you get this to be about what Americans should do to Americans in any context.

How low is your bar for stated claims on reality?

What on earth has it to do with taxpayers?

Quoting SallyMJ:

That's not what she said. She said they have no right to an opinion unless they can clearly explain and defend it.

Meaning, she gets to be the Thought Police.

Sorry, that's not what anyone in America should do to other Americans, especially not a government employee at a government school, supported by the American taxpayer.

Quoting grambo91: If you have an ignorant comment (opinion) that obviously holds no factual basis and does not contribute to the learning environment, your teacher is not going to allow it. Why should teachers allow fallacies to be discussed in class if they are ignorant opinions with no factual basis? It is a learning environment, not a journal.







Could you give one or more examples of such opinions?  I am very interested.



I experienced it in college, lots of people I know experienced it -

religious and/or conservative or libertarian politically - and their

experiences are legion.



LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jan. 2, 2014 at 9:10 AM
1 mom liked this
Now that's hysterical! Thanks for the giggle this morning :).

Quoting JTROX:


Quoting Friday:


Quoting SallyMJ:

I can understand how you can't see that - it's your ideology, so it seems normal. You seem like a nice person, even though you disagree with conservatives/libertarians. Maybe you can try to look outside your perspective to how others are treated and feel. Libs/progs are good at doing that for black liberals, liberal women, and gay liberals (though not so much for black, female, and gay conservatives). But that's not set in stone, and can change if you want it to.

Quoting Friday:


Quoting SallyMJ:

So you think suppression of Constitutional right is permissible as long as it is limited to one classroom?

No, he's not supressing their Constitional rights any more than duck dude's free speech was infringed. Thanks for the first laugh of the day. You crack me up.


Your need to try and fit me in the Lib/Progressive box that you believe everyone left of you belongs in is pathetic. If you had ever paid any attention to anything I've ever posted on CM you would know your comments here are plain wrong. I lean Libertarian, voted Libertarian in 2012 and don't demonize black, female or gay Conservatives for anything but the words they utter. I agree with some Conservative beliefs and have many friends who are Conservative. We can even discuss and debate our beliefs and still be friends. I have learned a lot from people of all beliefs and am always open to learning more from anyone who can be respectful and state a cogent point w/o insults. Sadly, that rules you out.

You can have your box back, it doesn't fit me, or most Liberals.

She's funny like that.

She claimed I was a liberal/progressive yesterday, because I don't have a problem with Common Core.  

JTROX
by Gold Member on Jan. 2, 2014 at 9:13 AM

LOL  Right?!  I found it funny too.  She apparently doesn't know me very well.  :)

Quoting LauraKW: Now that's hysterical! Thanks for the giggle this morning :).

Quoting JTROX:


Quoting Friday:


Quoting SallyMJ:

I can understand how you can't see that - it's your ideology, so it seems normal. You seem like a nice person, even though you disagree with conservatives/libertarians. Maybe you can try to look outside your perspective to how others are treated and feel. Libs/progs are good at doing that for black liberals, liberal women, and gay liberals (though not so much for black, female, and gay conservatives). But that's not set in stone, and can change if you want it to.

Quoting Friday:


Quoting SallyMJ:

So you think suppression of Constitutional right is permissible as long as it is limited to one classroom?

No, he's not supressing their Constitional rights any more than duck dude's free speech was infringed. Thanks for the first laugh of the day. You crack me up.


Your need to try and fit me in the Lib/Progressive box that you believe everyone left of you belongs in is pathetic. If you had ever paid any attention to anything I've ever posted on CM you would know your comments here are plain wrong. I lean Libertarian, voted Libertarian in 2012 and don't demonize black, female or gay Conservatives for anything but the words they utter. I agree with some Conservative beliefs and have many friends who are Conservative. We can even discuss and debate our beliefs and still be friends. I have learned a lot from people of all beliefs and am always open to learning more from anyone who can be respectful and state a cogent point w/o insults. Sadly, that rules you out.

You can have your box back, it doesn't fit me, or most Liberals.

She's funny like that.

She claimed I was a liberal/progressive yesterday, because I don't have a problem with Common Core.  


LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jan. 2, 2014 at 9:19 AM
1 mom liked this
There's a lot she doesn't know.

Quoting JTROX:

LOL  Right?!  I found it funny too.  She apparently doesn't know me very well.  :)

Quoting LauraKW: Now that's hysterical! Thanks for the giggle this morning :).



Quoting JTROX:


Quoting Friday:


Quoting SallyMJ:

I can understand how you can't see that - it's your ideology, so it seems normal. You seem like a nice person, even though you disagree with conservatives/libertarians. Maybe you can try to look outside your perspective to how others are treated and feel. Libs/progs are good at doing that for black liberals, liberal women, and gay liberals (though not so much for black, female, and gay conservatives). But that's not set in stone, and can change if you want it to.

Quoting Friday:


Quoting SallyMJ:

So you think suppression of Constitutional right is permissible as long as it is limited to one classroom?

No, he's not supressing their Constitional rights any more than duck dude's free speech was infringed. Thanks for the first laugh of the day. You crack me up.


Your need to try and fit me in the Lib/Progressive box that you believe everyone left of you belongs in is pathetic. If you had ever paid any attention to anything I've ever posted on CM you would know your comments here are plain wrong. I lean Libertarian, voted Libertarian in 2012 and don't demonize black, female or gay Conservatives for anything but the words they utter. I agree with some Conservative beliefs and have many friends who are Conservative. We can even discuss and debate our beliefs and still be friends. I have learned a lot from people of all beliefs and am always open to learning more from anyone who can be respectful and state a cogent point w/o insults. Sadly, that rules you out.

You can have your box back, it doesn't fit me, or most Liberals.

She's funny like that.

She claimed I was a liberal/progressive yesterday, because I don't have a problem with Common Core.  


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