Ever heard the phrase, “I’m titled to my opinion?” This philosophy professor confronts this phrase, suggesting that while, yes, you can have an opinion, no, that does not necessarily mean your opinion is automatically valuable or “right.” In other words, if your opinion does not hold up to the academic rigor used by experts when studying your opinion, it does not hold weight alongside expert knowledge.
“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.”