Today in nodding furiously: what do you mean when you say you’re entitled to your opinion?

From The Conversation: No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.

But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred.

Read the whole thing.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, language, Politics, Sociology

Tags: , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. And as I’ve been directed, read the comments! A few usual suspects show up for punishment.

  2. The comments thread has become Meryl Dorey vs just about everyone else now. I have bailed, there is enough depressing shit in my day already.

  3. As I said there, I agree with John Scalzi: everyone is entitled to their own opinion; nobody is entitled to their own facts. If you want to convince people, you have to be able to back your position up with evidence, and you have to be willing to deal with the evidence which runs counter to your position.

  4. Saw your comment there, well said.

  5. I think this discussion is quite interesting at this historical moment where ‘feeling’ has become so important to affirming both anti-intellectualism and political rights. So, ‘I feel abortion is wrong’, so therefore I’m entitled not just to this opinion, but to have my feelings legislated on. Because, we are entitled to ‘feel’ and what with our increasingly ‘psychologised’ society, we are encouraged to own our feelings and see them as valid, rather than justifying them.
    And, I’m not entirely unsympathetic to this, in that this was a technique used by feminists in the past to encourage a critique of women’s position. So, we started with a sense that something was wrong, and we worked that up into a critique of social relationships – and it took for women to get into positions of power and into the academy for that critique to be applied. That ‘feeling’ of injustice has been pretty powerful at driving change, even amongst people who are not able to articulate why they feel that way.
    And, in many ways, it is an intellectual position, that relies on certain type of education and ability to articulate, that demands that we can vocalise so feelings into arguments (and let’s be honest one of the advantages of a good education is being able to use all sorts of nonsense to support your position if you give it the right spin, even if it’s intellectually dishonest). And, I don’t think it’s wrong that groups that haven’t had that education or have those abilities are allowed to push back against that – to say hang on, something isn’t right here. And, perhaps put it back on the educated and on the legislators to really give consideration to those concerns to see if there might be something in it or not.

  6. I like how Limited News call if Feelpinions. Sums it up nicely I think.

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