The Opinions of a Philosopher

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The problem is that sometimes we implicitly seem to take opinions of the second and even the third sort to be unarguable in the way questions of taste are. Meryl Dorey is the leader of the Australian Vaccination Network, which despite the name is vehemently anti-vaccine. Dorey has no medical qualifications, but argues that if Bob Brown is allowed to comment on nuclear power despite not being a scientist, she should be allowed to comment on vaccines. But no-one assumes Dr. Brown is an authority on the physics of nuclear fission; his job is to comment on the policy responses to the science, not the science itself.

No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.

And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred. Again, if this was about policy responses to science, this would be reasonable.

Acknowledgements

The response from anti-vaccination voices was predictable. On the Mediawatch site, Ms. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. All rights reserved. Search form Search. You are here Home Blogs Patrick Stokes's blog Philosopher: No, you're not entitled to your opinion Plato distinguished between opinion or common belief doxa and other types of knowledge.

Suppose that I come to believe that it will rain tomorrow on the basis of weather. It would seems strange to say that my belief that it will rain tomorrow is just an opinion. Of course, I could be wrong.

PHILOSOPHY - Plato

But, I can and should be fairly certain about it raining tomorrow. If I still believe that it will rain, it now feels more appropriate to call my belief an opinion. Similarly, imagine that I come to believe that it will rain tomorrow because I have performed a rain-inducing religious ritual. Clearly, in this case, my belief would be called an opinion or else something less polite.

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The point here is that opinions are a special kind of belief — specifically, beliefs held either on the basis of uncertain evidence or an unreliable form of evidence, the sort of beliefs that a rational person could doubt. As we saw, it would have to rain tomorrow. I would have to believe the sentence on the basis of some not entirely certain or not entirely reliable evidence. It should be clear, then, that the sentence could express both a fact and an opinion.

It does rain tomorrow. Since I believed that it would rain the next day on the basis of an unreliable form of evidence, my belief that it would rain was an opinion.

Silicon Valley's Secret Philosophers Should Share Their Work

That it did rain means that it was a fact that it would rain. The conditions for expressing a fact and expressing an opinion are not exclusive of each other. Another way of putting my point is that that facts are reality , the way that things are. And opinions are not entirely certain, or somehow disputable beliefs about that reality. This is a kind of rhetorical bullying. This is especially important when there is something of ethical importance at stake. Should we send troops to Iraq or not?


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Should women be allowed to have abortions or not? Worse, it distracts us from the relevant considerations in favor of each option.

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Silicon Valley's Secret Philosophers Should Share Their Work | WIRED

Facts and Opinions are not Contraries. Michael Prinzing Follow. The Practical Philosopher Philosophy shouldn't stay in the ivory tower. The Practical Philosopher brings the thinking tools of academic philosophy to bear on topics of popular interest. It's meant to be accessible and interesting and, most importantly, practical.

Opinion: Philosophical definitions

Philosophy Facts Opinion Logic. A philosopher with a penchant for the practical and empirical. The Practical Philosopher Follow. Philosophy shouldn't stay in the ivory tower.