Thursday, June 23, 2016

What does it mean to say "I have a right to my opinion?"

What does it mean to say that I have a right to my opinion? If I have a right to life, it implies that some powerful person cannot take my life away from me without justification. How would someone take your opinion away from you, short of brain surgery? 

13 comments:

John Moore said...

Well, it means I have a right to express my opinion in some way.

You don't even have an opinion unless you express it in some way or other.

And yes, saying you have a right to something means you'll fight for it when somebody tries to take it away.

Ilíon said...

"Well, it means I have a right to express my opinion in some way."

That's what it means on the surface.

What it almost always really means is something very different -- "I have the right to continue to hold -- and to loudly voice -- my opinion ... and you have no right to show my opinion to be wrong [in any sense of the word] or misguided."

Dan Gillson said...

Ilíon is on the right track, but I'd add that the speaker is also implying that because it's his "right", we must listen to his opinion, no matter how awful, stupid, or absurd.

Ilíon said...

"... but I'd add that the speaker is also implying that because it's his "right", we must listen to his opinion, no matter how awful, stupid, or absurd."

That's meant to be included/implied in what I said ... just (for once) not so bluntly.

Ilíon said...

"How would someone take your opinion away from you ...?"

By convincing you to abandon it, or at least to stop advocating it. This convincing might be done by sound-and-valid rational argument on the one hand, or be naked threat at the other extreme, or by something in between.

When someone says, "I have a right to my opinion!" what she (*) is generally doing is attempting to silence the other fellow's attempt at a sound-and-valid rational argument against her (*) opinion by implicitly equating (attempts at) rational argument with threats of violence.


(*) Do you see what I did there?

Legion of Logic said...

"(*) Do you see what I did there?"

Careful now. If PZ Myers and his little bunny figures taught us anything, it's that making the female the one in the wrong is sexist and patriarchal. The man should always be the one who's wrong.

SteveK said...

"(*) Do you see what I did there?"

So you one of those people
:)

Satta M. said...

it's just a classic conversation stopper/thought terminating cliche

Ilíon said...

SteveK: "So you one of those people?"

Score!

I'm mocking the hypocrisy of those people.

Joe Hinman said...

What it almost always really means is something very different -- "I have the right to continue to hold -- and to loudly voice -- my opinion ... and you have no right to show my opinion to be wrong [in any sense of the word] or misguided."

Nope. It means I do not have to feel dumb or inadequate merely from others telling me I'm wrong merely for disagreement with their values or popinjays.

Joe Hinman said...

Dan Gillson said...
Ilíon is on the right track, but I'd add that the speaker is also implying that because it's his "right", we must listen to his opinion, no matter how awful, stupid, or absurd.

I think it depends upon thy context under which it is said, but guess what you have a right to your opinion!

Joe Hinman said...

Do you see what I did there?

yes you express discomfort with tye fact Tahiti other have opinions. but hey you convinced me. you have no right to your opinion.

Dan Gillson said...

In what other contexts do people normally say that they have a right to their opinion except those in which a speaker is being defiant or pushy, Joe?