Sunday, May 17, 2009

What does it mean to say "We are entitled to our opinion?"

When we say we are entitled to our opinion, what this means is that if we have a sincerely held belief, the powers of government don’t have the right to brainwash us and force us to change that belief. It doesn’t mean that we are morally justified in the way in which we hold our beliefs, nor does it mean that regardless of how rational or irrational our belief-forming processes are, our beliefs are as likely to be true as anyone else’s. We can have different opinions about whether our injured ankle is sprained or broken, but the well-informed judgment of a doctor is surely more worthy of consideration than the less-informed opinion of the patient or members of the patient’s family.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Not all opinions are created equal. Check. I've always found "we are entitled to our opinion," an odd saying that, while true, seems to have fewer meaningful implications than one might expect. I suppose the most relevant one is the idea that someone who says that isn't going to endlessly harass someone else about an opinion they believe is mistaken. Perhaps there are other implications. Can't think of any right now.