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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Opinions can be wrong..?

    So.. I was somehow dragged into an argument about opinions and well, it lfet my brain hurting.

    The argument was about opinions and that opinions can be wrong, to which I passionately disagreed with.

    My examples used in the argument was telling me that I am wrong because my favorite colors are black and red (or red and black, I say then in either order), that my friends favorite cartoon growing up being Tranformers, or my sister liking cotton to tie-dye over synthetic is not inherently wrong.

    The during the discussion the examples everybody else ( and I mean literally, I was the only one on my side) were not opinion, they were opinions presented as facts, to which I kept trying to explain "that's not an opinion, that just stating an incorrect fact."



    So, I guess I just needed a place to vent and then to posit if indeed people cannot tell the difference between a fact, an opinion, and an opinion presented as a fact.

    Or if I am truly wrong and somehow opinions can be wrong?

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    An opinion that you arrived at through misinformation is probably wrong.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Opinions can't be wrong, but people can incorrectly classify positions as opinions rather than facts (or facts rather than opinions). Opinions are subjective judgments; things that can't be proven one way or the other. Facts are things that can be proven either true or false.

    If I say, "Red is a better color than black," that's subjective; an opinion. I can't prove it, and nobody else can disprove it.

    If I say, "Red is my favorite color," that's a fact. You can determine whether or not that statement is true by asking me, or running some wacky experiment to see if I favor red things over other colors. If somebody else says, "Telonius' favorite color is blue," I can say, "No, that's not correct, my favorite color is red."

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    The proper term for the exact shade of the (clear, daytime) sky is a matter of opinion (as to whether it is, for example: blue, bluish-cyan, turquoise, azure, light-blue, robin's-egg, or the aptly-named "sky-blue") but if you think it's red... you're wrong.
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by ngilop View Post

    So, I guess I just needed a place to vent and then to posit if indeed people cannot tell the difference between a fact, an opinion, and an opinion presented as a fact.
    Oh people are massively unable to separate opinion, fact and opinion masquerading as fact. If we weren't most politicians would be out of business.

    Quote Originally Posted by ngilop View Post
    Or if I am truly wrong and somehow opinions can be wrong?
    That's a philosophical question really. It deals with the objective vs subjective. I don't think there is a correct (or well a single) answer.

    Because most examples I could think of would be grossly forum inappropriate I won't give any. But imagine when you say "opinions can't be wrong" I counter with an opinion so abhorrent you know I'm the only one who'll hold it. Subjectively I won't be wrong but arguably objectively I could be, in any sense were "objectively" is meaningful.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fury View Post
    An opinion that you arrived at through misinformation is probably wrong.
    Oooo... I like this one.
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2020-07-24 at 10:45 AM.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Opinions are value judgements, values are based on (insert jargon for shared world views here, take your pick of Ontologies, Intersections, etc.) The systemic framework used to make that judgement is innately flawed, so all opinions being based on bad axioms are probably wrong.

    The good news is that the person judging the judgement is also basing their opinion on flawed or wrong axioms, so while they can say the other person is wrong they can't actually say what is right. This is an area the Pragmatist school delved pretty deep into, culminating in Hannah Arendt.

    A great example of this is Mean Girls, where the Plastics base their opinions on a set of axioms:
    1. Personal status is the most important good.
    2. Physical attractiveness, money and celebrity are the defining traits of personal status.
    3. Style shows off physical attractiveness and money together.
    4. People who are not stylish have low status.

    So the Plastics attack people regularly to raise their own status and lower others', because being on top is most important. The lines of attack are on style, attractiveness and celebrity (also money which ties into those) while they ignore things like intelligence, kindness and personability as not being status raising to them.
    Last edited by Tvtyrant; 2020-07-24 at 11:10 AM.
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Opinions cannot be wrong, but they can be based on wrong information.

    If I have the opinion "40k is the best wargame because its rules are super tight and it's a really well-balanced game!" then the opinion part (40k is the best wargame) is fine. That's not wrong, and cannot be wrong, because it's just my opinion. But the facts it's based on (rules are super tight, it's very well-balanced) are woefully inaccurate, and likely show that my opinion is based on quite limited exposure to wargames in general.
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    Opinions cannot be wrong, but they can be based on wrong information.

    If I have the opinion "40k is the best wargame because its rules are super tight and it's a really well-balanced game!" then the opinion part (40k is the best wargame) is fine. That's not wrong, and cannot be wrong, because it's just my opinion. But the facts it's based on (rules are super tight, it's very well-balanced) are woefully inaccurate, and likely show that my opinion is based on quite limited exposure to wargames in general.
    Reminds me of a debate partner I had in high school who got in an argument with the rest of the debate club about whether you can argue opinions or not. He argued you can only argue opinions, because facts are either true or not. At the time I disagreed, I largely agree now.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Considering humanity collectively continue to display bigotry and/or factionalism, I would say that is it absolutely possible for opinions, along with beliefs, to be wrong.
    Last edited by Aotrs Commander; 2020-07-24 at 12:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Anybody and everybody arguing that "opinions can't be wrong" is wrong. They're using bad semantics.

    Open any dictionary and look at what common definitions of "opinion" actually are. You will rapidly find that there is only one real context where different opinions are put on the same level: the saying "it's a matter of opinion".

    So what does that mean? Look at the first definition given: "opinion is a conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof". So when and where no opinion can be said to be wrong... it's just because none of the opposing opinions have any more substance.

    The idea that opinions are unassailable in this way comes from conflating it with a different saying and concept: that some things are "a matter of taste". So what does that mean? Supposedly, some concepts are so deeply tangled with individual's subjective experience that the individual is best and only authority on them. Whether that's true in any meaningful sense is up for debate. In any case, it should be self-evident that most things people call "opinions" or even their "tastes" do not pass this test. They are simply beliefs and conclusions that haven't been substsantiated... and often an honest attempt at substantiating them will prove them right or wrong, or at least closer to right or wrong than other beliefs and conclusions, sometimes with the unsurprising consequence that the person changes their mind.

    Any and every time you find yourself trying to pigeonhole a general, inexact term such as "opinion" to mean only things which are somehow immune to considerations of right and wrong... you'd be better off searching the same dictionary for another, more specific word. For example, if you're trying to make a point about ought-is-problem or value staments... talk about the ought-is-problem and value statements. Not opinions.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    But the facts it's based on (rules are super tight, it's very well-balanced) are woefully inaccurate, and likely show that my opinion is based on quite limited exposure to wargames in general.
    IMO, that's still an opinion. It's your opinion that the rules are super-tight and well-balanced. Or not.

    A fact would just be stating a rule. Your analysis of the rule and its impact on the game are your opinion. It may be a shared opinion across the playerbase that your opinion of the rule is correct or not, but that does not turn it into a fact or make it right / wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Anybody and everybody arguing that "opinions can't be wrong" is wrong. They're using bad semantics.
    IMO, the semantic is also 'opinions cannot be right'. They just are. It's a value judgment of the speaker. The listener may agree or disagree with said value judgment, but that does not make the opinion 'right' or 'wrong' the way accurately stating or misstating a fact is.
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Again: if you want to talk about value statements, use the term "value statement" (etc.). In common use, "opinion" is neither synonym to nor limited to value statements. Acting as if it is, is wrong.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    If I say a chocolate doughnut is the best doughnut, that is my opinion.

    If I say doughnuts do not exist, I am just wrong because they clearly observably do exist.

    If I go on to quibble over the definition of a doughnut so to as debate whether anything is really a doughnut to try and support a view that doughnuts don't exist, I am just being needlessly obtuse and people would be fully in their rights to stop listening, move on with their lives and not give me the time of day because I'm clearly wasting theirs.
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    The idea that opinions are unassailable in this way comes from conflating it with a different saying and concept: that some things are "a matter of taste". So what does that mean? Supposedly, some concepts are so deeply tangled with individual's subjective experience that the individual is best and only authority on them. Whether that's true in any meaningful sense is up for debate. In any case, it should be self-evident that most things people call "opinions" or even their "tastes" do not pass this test. They are simply beliefs and conclusions that haven't been substsantiated... and often an honest attempt at substantiating them will prove them right or wrong, or at least closer to right or wrong than other beliefs and conclusions, sometimes with the unsurprising consequence that the person changes their mind.
    I agree with pretty much all of this post but I want to introduce another rogue saying to the mix. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion". This is valid, but this is further extrapolated to mean "everyone and their opinions are equal" and thereafter to "all opinions are equal" and therefore "no opinions are wrong".

    Now, it is possible that because of the nature of objective truth, it is not possible for an opinion to be completely right or completely wrong. But that doesn't mean they all occupy the same spot on the graph. And when it's possible for some to be more or less right than others, the question of what constitutes "wrongness" is itself, to an extent, a matter of opinion.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    If I say a chocolate doughnut is the best doughnut, that is my opinion.

    If I say doughnuts do not exist, I am just wrong because they clearly observably do exist.

    If I go on to quibble over the definition of a doughnut so to as debate whether anything is really a doughnut to try and support a view that doughnuts don't exist, I am just being needlessly obtuse and people would be fully in their rights to stop listening, move on with their lives and not give me the time of day because I'm clearly wasting theirs.
    Well, you only think that because your post is a doughnut!

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    Considering humanity collectively continue to display bigotry and/or factionalism, I would say that is it absolutely possible for opinions, along with beliefs, to be wrong.
    Pretty much the point I came to make.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    I agree with pretty much all of this post but I want to introduce another rogue saying to the mix. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion". This is valid, but this is further extrapolated to mean "everyone and their opinions are equal" and thereafter to "all opinions are equal" and therefore "no opinions are wrong".
    "Everyone is entitled to their opinion" has always struck me as one of those sayings that has been taken wildly out of context and misinterpreted, and I've wondered where it came from. A cursory search suggests it comes from Daniel Patrick Moynihan and was originally part of a longer quote:

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

    You could inteprete this as "everyone has right to hold whatever value statements, but does not have right to hold whatever factual statements". But you could also more straightforwardly interprete it as:

    "Everyone has the right to say whatever, they don't have right to decide what they say is true."

    You really have to torture the meaning quite a bit to get "all opinions are equal", nevermind "no opinions are wrong", in either case. Both of those can only be true from perspective of complete value nihilism, and create self-contradiction from any other perspective. This is obvious enough that the first few things Google actually gave me were a long essay on how you're NOT entitled to your opinion, and Wikipedia's article on logical fallacies.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    If someone can lie about their opinion, then it is possible for an opinion to be false. More subtly, I think it's quite possible for someone to be incoherent about their own opinions - that is, that if you solicited their opinion in different contexts, they would report different things, so that you can't always trust even earnestly reported opinions completely.

    I'm going to leave off the values interpretation of 'wrong' since I think it's not the one intended by the initial question.
    Last edited by NichG; 2020-07-25 at 04:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Opinion is not the same thing as preference, nor the same as value judgement. People form opinions based partly on their values, but also based on a whole raft of other factors, most of which they're probably not even aware of.

    "My favourite colour is red" - that's not an opinion, it's a preference. "Red is a good colour for signs because it's conspicuous" - that would be an opinion, which may or may not be supported by, or at least consistent with, evidence. It also implies "the most important attribute of a sign is conspicuousness", which is a value judgement (and probably not one that would stand up to careful thought, but we rarely do that).

    You can describe an opinion as subjectively wrong if you disagree with the values on which it is based. That's a fairly easy call to make, but it leaves you in the position where "wrong" simply means "I disagree".

    But to call an opinion objectively wrong, you will have to go a lot further. You could do it by showing that it's based on false premises, or that it requires holding contradictory values. In general, that's near impossible to do because people seldom explain the reasons behind their opinion, and even when they do, they nearly always leave out some key points - either because they never think of them, or they do but then suppress them because they realise there's a contradiction (cognitive dissonance).
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighbor’s pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Yes, substantiating wishy-washy opinions can be difficult. That doesn't mean they can't be right or wrong. It is the exact homology of mathematical proofs. There are heaps of non-trivial problems where finding the right solution, or set of solutions, is notoriously hard... but we can still confidently say there are right and wrong solutions.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    For matters of opinion though, proving opinions true or false has different consequences than proving statements of fact true or false. If the opinion is 'I think you should paint your sign red' and you can prove that the speaker really believes that you should paint it blue, that doesn't mean that painting it red is automatically a bad idea (or a good one). Similarly, incoherent opinions may still be quite useful to hold, and coherent ones might be quite harmful to hold.

    So you have to consider not just whether an opinion can be shown to be incoherent, but also whether showing that actually matters to the discussion at hand.

    Arguments or opinions which are projected on the basis of some substantiation are different things, if we're being careful about terminology here. 'You should paint your sign red because it will bring more business' is a claim to fact, or at least prediction, and has a grounding which establishes its utility and how that utility is impacted by falsification.
    Last edited by NichG; 2020-07-25 at 05:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    For matters of opinion though, proving opinions true or false has different consequences than proving statements of fact true or false.
    No, not really. The seemingness of this being the case is a result of your example, and all similar cases, consisting of two statements we can evaluate independently: "I think" and "you should".

    So it appears the consequences are different, because we only evaluated "I think" but not "you should".

    But in actual discussion, we are often not concerned with that "I think" part. Again: in common use, an opinion is a belief or conclusion held confidently without substantive proof or positive knowledge. When talking about whether opinions are right or wrong, we usually are concerned with those beliefs and conclusion, not just whether you truly hold them! Hence, characterizing rightness or wrongness of "matters of opinion" as merely being about whether people are lying about what conclusions and beliefs truly are, is wrong.

    Infact, almost every time someone prefaces their opinion with "I think" or similar, you can ignore that part as redundant. Such clarifications are typically only useful when a person is talking about opinions of other people in addition to theirs.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    No, not really. The seemingness of this being the case is a result of your example, and all similar cases, consisting of two statements we can evaluate independently: "I think" and "you should".

    So it appears the consequences are different, because we only evaluated "I think" but not "you should".

    But in actual discussion, we are often not concerned with that "I think" part. Again: in common use, an opinion is a belief or conclusion held confidently without substantive proof or positive knowledge. When talking about whether opinions are right or wrong, we usually are concerned with those beliefs and conclusion, not just whether you truly hold them! Hence, characterizing rightness or wrongness of "matters of opinion" as merely being about whether people are lying about what conclusions and beliefs truly are, is wrong.

    Infact, almost every time someone prefaces their opinion with "I think" or similar, you can ignore that part as redundant. Such clarifications are typically only useful when a person is talking about opinions of other people in addition to theirs.
    At least in terms of the conversation in this thread so far, it has been asked to consider things which are assertions of fact masked as opinions as being different from an 'actual' opinion. One possible conclusion I suppose is 'there is no such thing as an opinion'.

    But I would say that there are statements where the 'I think' is actually the important bit to understand why it's being said, and the implicit call for it to be substantiated is missing the point of the communication. Often those are things which mask value statements or statements of preference, or ways in which those things are combined into something more nuanced. So if you approach a conversation of that type and say 'aha, I will attack the factual basis of these opinions and therefore persuade the other person of my point of view!' it's likely to fail or just result in frustration.

    If someone says e.g. 'I think people who play high-op styles are terrible players' and you say 'well, look, here's an example of one player who happens to be a good player and plays a high-op style - therefore, your opinion is false' then it's not going to be convincing because it's ignoring why they said that. It may well be that as a formal statement 'People who play high-op styles are necessarily terrible players' is false, but perhaps there is one particular high-op player in that person's community that they hate to deal with, or that person has a context which makes it harder for them to run a successful game at high-op standards, or just that the person dislikes high-op play. So treating the entire statement as if it were living and dying only on the part of it which might be factually addressable is a failure of communication.

    Edit: Here's another example that might escape the 'matter of preference' and 'matter of fact' categories: "I think that it's easier to work in polar coordinates than Cartesian coordinates."

    If you focus on whether, say, the majority of proofs are longer in one representation than another, you're likely to miss that the statement is informing you about the speaker's own personal skill levels and levels of comfort rather than being some statement about the nature of mathematics as a whole. E.g. by trying to reduce it purely to an objective truth, you remove contextualization that is important to parsing its meaning. Having a race with that person where you use Cartesians to great effect and complete a problem faster than them might falsify the objective part of that statement, but it's a non-sequitur to the reason the statement was uttered.
    Last edited by NichG; 2020-07-25 at 08:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Like most arguments of this type, most of this comes down to how you define your terms.

    Opinions on subjective matters can't be wrong. Opinions on objective matters can be wrong. But at that points, you'd have to have an argument about whether or not you even can have an opinion about something objective.

    Favourite Colour? Purely subjective. No possibility of anyone being wrong.

    Most correct answer to 2 + 2? Outside of high-level mathematics, that has only one correct answer and infinite incorrect answers with no gradient between them.

    The argument then is whether or not 'opinion' is even the word you use to describe what you think about an objective fact.

    And then, once you've established that, it comes down to deciding what's objective fact and what's not. Which can often be more difficult than it seems.
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    @NichG: Bluntly, both your examples are awful, and in a situation where someone asked me a similar question, I would not search for any meaning in "I think" preface and would just skip to asking for clarification.

    The inability of people to clearly communicate what their opinions are in a way that would make it easy for me to prove them right or wrong, has little to nothing to do with whether their opinions are, or can be, right or wrong.
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2020-07-25 at 10:01 AM.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by truemane View Post
    Like most arguments of this type, most of this comes down to how you define your terms.

    Opinions on subjective matters can't be wrong. Opinions on objective matters can be wrong. But at that points, you'd have to have an argument about whether or not you even can have an opinion about something objective.

    Favourite Colour? Purely subjective. No possibility of anyone being wrong.

    Most correct answer to 2 + 2? Outside of high-level mathematics, that has only one correct answer and infinite incorrect answers with no gradient between them.

    The argument then is whether or not 'opinion' is even the word you use to describe what you think about an objective fact.

    And then, once you've established that, it comes down to deciding what's objective fact and what's not. Which can often be more difficult than it seems.
    There's never going to be a clear line between purely subjective and fact.
    My favourite colour is "Red, like the midday sky", I'm free to specify my favourite colour, but something is clearly wrong somewhere. [In addition as pointed out, if I say my favourite colour is pink, a look round my house would lead to reasonable doubt on that statement, further experimentation would support that doubt, even if I believed I was being genuinely truthful in my pinkophilic claim]

    Even 2+2*2, there's a clear answer as to what we should put down, but at the end of the day we can argue that we prefer the other options (so long as we accept that it's not going to change), but there is also a limited range of options. "We should do things so 2+2*2 should equal 8" is arguably a valid opinion, but less so than the favourite colour example. "We should do things so 2+2*2=7" is definitely a few notches less valid.

    I suppose going back to the colour, you have "my favourite colour...", "in my opinion we should paint the room blue...",

    Actually the more I think about it, in my opinion, if you actually have an "opinion", it's a claim that also takes you beyond the pure subjective.
    If saying "in my opinion 2+2=4" is dubious, but equally so is "In my opinion, my favourite colour is Green".

    Opinion really belongs in that murkey world between subjective and objective.
    Last edited by jayem; 2020-07-25 at 11:15 AM.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    There's never going to be a clear line between purely subjective and fact.
    How's that, do you figure?

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    My favourite colour is "Red, like the midday sky", I'm free to specify my favourite colour, but something is clearly wrong somewhere. [In addition as pointed out, if I say my favourite colour is pink, a look round my house would lead to reasonable doubt on that statement, further experimentation would support that doubt, even if I believed I was being genuinely truthful in my pinkophilic claim]
    You can also choose to add u's to perfectly good words.

    This isn't, and people have rightly pointed out, the same as your next example. It's a clear, demonstrable, equivocation fallacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    Even 2+2*2, there's a clear answer as to what we should put down, but at the end of the day we can argue that we prefer the other options (so long as we accept that it's not going to change), but there is also a limited range of options. "We should do things so 2+2*2 should equal 8" is arguably a valid opinion, but less so than the favourite colour example. "We should do things so 2+2*2=7" is definitely a few notches less valid.
    Math isn't an opinion. The equation, regardless of the symbols we use to express it, is demonstrable in reality and is not a subjective matter even when 2+2*2 = something else because Math isn't one thing, and using different equations and expressions of math might produce other answers. They're still not opinions, they're both simply comporting to reality based on what equations you're using. You can demonstrate it in the physical world, there's no discussion on if saying 2+2*2 is 7 is subjectively right or wrong. It's objectively wrong using standard math.

    If you don't believe me, get eight pencils and do the equation without using the numbers. You're never going to get 7.

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    I suppose going back to the colour, you have "my favourite colour...", "in my opinion we should paint the room blue...",
    But maybe painting the room a certain color is wrong? Maybe the room gets a ton of sunlight and a dark shade of paint will absorb heat and keep the room hot. That's not even a thing I'm making up, choosing the proper shades of color for your rooms is fairly important depending on all sorts of factors. What if the color shows dust easily or other scuffs and marks? It may be your opinion but it can still be demonstrated to be a bad opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    Actually the more I think about it, in my opinion, if you actually have an "opinion", it's a claim that also takes you beyond the pure subjective.
    If saying "in my opinion 2+2=4" is dubious, but equally so is "In my opinion, my favourite colour is Green".
    No. No.

    Not all claims are equal. Claims must have evidence aportioned to them depending on the claim itself. Saying "my favorite color is green" is a rather mundane, almost banal claim, that we can just simply take your word for it. Aside from you equivocating that math is somehow just opinion (it isn't), it would require more evidence to falsify. If you said there was a teapot on Venus I'd need more evidence than you having a favorite color. I don't need evidence of what your favorite color is. It's not something you'd like about and if you did actually lie about it that tells me more about than anything else.

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    Opinion really belongs in that murkey world between subjective and objective.
    Objective and Subjective are not two sides of a coin. They're not mutually exclusive. You can have objective facts in a subjective system and you can have subjective facts in an objective system.
    Last edited by Razade; 2020-07-25 at 11:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    Objective and Subjective are not two sides of a coin. They're not mutually exclusive. You can have objective facts in a subjective system and you can have subjective facts in an objective system.
    That goes part of the way, but I think it doesn't go far enough. Although I'm not sure how.

    Math isn't an opinion. The equation, regardless of the symbols we use to express it, is demonstrable in reality and is not a subjective matter even when 2+2*2 = something else because Math isn't one thing, and using different equations and expressions of math might produce other answers. They're still not opinions, they're both simply comporting to reality based on what equations you're using. You can demonstrate it in the physical world, there's no discussion on if saying 2+2*2 is 7 is subjectively right or wrong. It's objectively wrong using standard math.
    If you don't believe me, get eight pencils and do the equation without using the numbers. You're never going to get 7.
    That's a long way to skim right past the point, picking up almost every step and then miss it. Although I think it's a good example of the subjective in objective and vice versa.

    Bodmas (^/*+- is not math, Bodmas is the language we use about math, and there is (at least at our level), no fundamental mathematical reason why it's better than Bomdas (^*/+- and in fact is clearly up to debate, as I suspect you think of Pedmas.
    Treating it LtR also has strong precedent (in which case 2+2*2=8). It is true that Bodmas is (almost certainly) the right one to use, but only because we've standardised our opinion.
    Bodmsa, Pemdsa, Boasmd (in which 2*2+2=8), Boasdm are 'clearly' unconventional ones, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with me sticking up my flag for any of them, in one sense it's a valid but unpopular opinion, but realistically I ought to also accept that the boat has sailed, my opinion is also wrong.

    Whatever the f I use to get 2+2*2=7, on the other hand, is in a whole different category. I'm not going to say there's no way to justify it, but I sure as hell can't work out what it is. I think I can go as far as to say it's not an order of operations issue.

    But maybe painting the room a certain color is wrong? Maybe the room gets a ton of sunlight and a dark shade of paint will absorb heat and keep the room hot. That's not even a thing I'm making up, choosing the proper shades of color for your rooms is fairly important depending on all sorts of factors. What if the color shows dust easily or other scuffs and marks? It may be your opinion but it can still be demonstrated to be a bad opinion.
    Exactly, in this case we're in pure agreement. We rapidly shift from subjective to objective statements.

    No. No.

    Not all claims are equal. Claims must have evidence aportioned to them depending on the claim itself. Saying "my favorite color is green" is a rather mundane, almost banal claim, that we can just simply take your word for it. Aside from you equivocating that math is somehow just opinion (it isn't), it would require more evidence to falsify. If you said there was a teapot on Venus I'd need more evidence than you having a favorite color. I don't need evidence of what your favorite color is. It's not something you'd like about and if you did actually lie about it that tells me more about than anything else.
    No No No
    Truemane postulates that we don't say "In my opinion" about (agreed) factual claims. But (I assert) we don't about purely subjective claims either.

    It's not that your taking it as truth. It's that barring weird circumstances I don't get to have an opinion on my favourite colour, it's a subjective thing.
    If I'm lying about "my favourite colour is green", I'm also lying about "In my opinion my favourite colour is green" (barring weird curcumstances)

    It's once we leave that pure subjective, that they start to become opinions.

    Or in other words it's precisely both because the existence of a teapot on Venus (or for you my kitchen) is an objective but unverified fact that we get to have meaningful opinions on it.
    For me to have an opinion of whether there is a teapot in my kitchen is odd (I know there isn't)
    For you to have an opinion on teapots in my kitchen is quite fine. your opinion that I diud ius nout uunreusunubul, but happened to be wrong (for normal definitions of teapot)
    Similarly (if I were to have) an opinion supporting teapots on Venus, it would be a genuine opinion, but almost certainly a wrong one and a little unreasonable
    While Siegel didn't really have 'opinions' on teapots on Krypton, until at least after he started sharing his vision with Shuster and putting things on paper (making Krypton partially objective).

    ____
    [ETA]
    Quote Originally Posted by Merriem-Webster
    Opinion
    1a : a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter
    b : approval, esteem
    2a : belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge
    b: a generally held view
    3a : a formal expression of judgment or advice by an expert
    b : the formal expression (as by a judge, court, or referee) of the legal reasons and principles upon which a legal decision is based
    and
    Quote Originally Posted by Collins
    Your opinion about something is what you think or believe about it.
    None of which, in my opinion, really apply to "My favourite thing is...", until you go Meta.
    My favourite colour isn't a belief or impression.
    "I believe my favourite colour is red" is a valid sentence but works precisely because it's expressing doubt about your own self-introspection (that is to say, you say that because you think it is possible, but unlikely that your favourite colour is not in fact red). The opinion element isn't really tied up with the 'favourite' aspect.
    The statement "Red is the best colour" could be an opinion (it isn't positive knowledge), and "It is my opinion, Red is the best colour" is so very very close to "My favourite colour is Red".
    ETA2
    Going the other way. An opinion that has elements of positive knowledge running alongside, isn't going to be an opinion for very long. A (potentially) wrong opinion is going to have ugly clashes (those who support it likely to think it as a 'positive fact', those who oppose it to think of it as nonsense). Preferences and acknowledged (currently) un-provable opinions will be recognised as valid by both sides.
    Last edited by jayem; 2020-07-25 at 06:24 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    That goes part of the way, but I think it doesn't go far enough. Although I'm not sure how.


    That's a long way to skim right past the point, picking up almost every step and then miss it. Although I think it's a good example of the subjective in objective and vice versa.

    Bodmas (^/*+- is not math, Bodmas is the language we use about math, and there is (at least at our level), no fundamental mathematical reason why it's better than Bomdas (^*/+- and in fact is clearly up to debate, as I suspect you think of Pedmas.
    Treating it LtR also has strong precedent (in which case 2+2*2=8). It is true that Bodmas is (almost certainly) the right one to use, but only because we've standardised our opinion.
    Bodmsa, Pemdsa, Boasmd (in which 2*2+2=8), Boasdm are 'clearly' unconventional ones, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with me sticking up my flag for any of them, in one sense it's a valid but unpopular opinion, but realistically I ought to also accept that the boat has sailed, my opinion is also wrong.

    Whatever the f I use to get 2+2*2=7, on the other hand, is in a whole different category. I'm not going to say there's no way to justify it, but I sure as hell can't work out what it is. I think I can go as far as to say it's not an order of operations issue.


    Exactly, in this case we're in pure agreement. We rapidly shift from subjective to objective statements.


    No No No
    Truemane postulates that we don't say "In my opinion" about (agreed) factual claims. But (I assert) we don't about purely subjective claims either.

    It's not that your taking it as truth. It's that barring weird circumstances I don't get to have an opinion on my favourite colour, it's a subjective thing.
    If I'm lying about "my favourite colour is green", I'm also lying about "In my opinion my favourite colour is green" (barring weird curcumstances)

    It's once we leave that pure subjective, that they start to become opinions.

    Or in other words it's precisely both because the existence of a teapot on Venus (or for you my kitchen) is an objective but unverified fact that we get to have meaningful opinions on it.
    For me to have an opinion of whether there is a teapot in my kitchen is odd (I know there isn't)
    For you to have an opinion on teapots in my kitchen is quite fine. your opinion that I diud ius nout uunreusunubul, but happened to be wrong (for normal definitions of teapot)
    Similarly (if I were to have) an opinion supporting teapots on Venus, it would be a genuine opinion, but almost certainly a wrong one and a little unreasonable
    While Siegel didn't really have 'opinions' on teapots on Krypton, until at least after he started sharing his vision with Shuster and putting things on paper (making Krypton partially objective).
    I... People have already gone on about pedantry and about word use but this conversation between the both of us is why it's really really dang important that we define our terms and try and use them in a way we both understand. Because it seems here you're using Opinion to qualify a lot of things. Beliefs being one of the big ones and they're not the same thing. The idiosyncrasies in the verbiage here is particularly obtuse (just threw that in to be even more pedantic), and it honestly feels at this point that really going after anything you're saying here is just going to put me in a spot where I'm going to keep on pointing where you're equivocating (your attempt to say the claim that you have a teapot in your kitchen is the same as a teapot on Mars for example) between what's an opinion, what's an interpretation on axioms (which aren't the same thing), what's a knowledge claim (also not the same thing) and what's a belief (could be the same thing). Only for you to then claim I'm talking past you, which you've already done. I'm not trying to do but you're using one, singular, term interchangeably to cover like fifteen different things here and conflating that one usage into a dozen different things and...tripping over tautologies. Your edit is only more of this.

    The sentence "My favorite color is red" is also valid. Saying what your favorite color is doesn't require absolute certainty. It's also short on of saying "I believe" or "my opinion" because you don't have to append either of those qualifies out loud. People understand that's what you mean when you make the statement "My favorite X is Y". They already know you're saying your opinion, they already know by conversational ques that you're expressing a feeling, not objective fact. Your example is one of those tautologies that I previously mentioned. You're using different, but similar, words to say the exact same thing and then trying to claim that they're different but "close". But that's not how people use those terms. They're synonymous and you're trying to argue that they're not. Which they demonstrably are.

    Because at the very least, saying "my favorite color" fits (and Dictionaries are not incidently authority on words and I wouldn't ever go to a dictionary definition to definitvely try to prove anything except common usge) the following of the linked definition.

    1a: Your favorite color is a view on a particular matter. It's your view on the matter of what is aesthetically pleasing to you.
    2a: Your opinion on your favorite color is more than an impression but it's not positive knowledge.
    b: People have favorite colors and they differ.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Opinions can be wrong..?

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    My favourite colour is "Red, like the midday sky", I'm free to specify my favourite colour, but something is clearly wrong somewhere.
    Remember that sentences and sentence fragments can express more than a single idea. Sometimes they can encompass two or more ideas, often interdependent but sometimes entirely independent.

    Your short bit expresses multiple explicit and implicit ideas, each of which can be fairly simply classified as factual or opinion-based.

    Your favorite color is one you consider red. [Opinion about which color you like the best.]

    Your favorite color is one you consider red. [Factual assertion about which color you have decided you like best.

    Your favorite color is one "like the midday sun." [Opinion about which color you like best.]

    Your favorite color is one "like the midday sun." [Factual assertion about which color you have decided you like best.]

    Also, due to the ambiguity of the English language in this case, you're also making one or the other of the following implied statements--it would be perfectly reasonable for the listener to believe you mean "like" in either sense, just like it's perfectly reasonable for you to have chosen the phrasing you did without realizing the potential ambiguity.

    The color of the midday sun is the same color as a particular shade of red. [Factual assertion.]

    The color of the midday sun is "like" (has some meaningful number of similarities to) a particular shade of red. [Largely on the opinion side, since I would argue that the truth of this statement is entirely predicated on what counts as enough similarities.]

    The English language (and probably most human languages) give you a tremendous capacity to pack a lot of information into a short statement--even more so once you take into account shared cultural knowledge and context. And for the most part, that's a great thing: Think of how much time we'd have to spend talking if instead of saying what you said, you had to explicitly and individually state all the crap I said--and probably something that I missed? The trade-off is, sometimes, the loss of a bit of precision and the introduction of ambiguity, but in most situations, this loss has no meaningful impact.


    But let's unpack this a little more. Imagine I write a standard form essay: I take a position, break that main thesis down into supporting arguments, and support each of those arguments with factual evidence. My thesis, "dogs are the best pets," is entirely opinion. Ultimately, there is no objective framework to prove me right or wrong, because there isn't even an objective way to determine the "correct" universal metric by which to evaluate how "good" a pet is.

    Now, in order to convince people that my opinion is a worthwhile one, I can bring in evidence. Some of it will be objective facts, (i.e., "Dogs generally live an average of X years), some will be subjective interpretation (i.e., "This lifespan makes for a good pet because it is long enough to form a real bond but not so long that you usually have to worry about the pet substantially outliving you.") And as a matter of judging the effectiveness of the essay, if my objective facts are objectively wrong, and I claim that those facts informed my opinion, that should definitely affect how persuasive you find my opinion.

    However, the presence of objective facts in the same arbitrary grouping of speech as my opinion doesn't make my opinion statement quasi-factual, nor does sharing the page with my subjective opinion make those individual factual assertions any less objective. This is true whether you're talking about an essay, a book, or a single complicated sentence.


    Edit:

    It suddenly occurs to me that people are overlooking an important ambiguity in the title that matters a pretty great deal. Peelee's post made me realize this, though he isn't the only one guilty of this thinking.

    The "wrong" in this title can mean two different things. From context, I believe that OP means it in the sense of right vs. wrong meaning "true" vs. "not true." Only factual assertions can be "wrong" in this sense.

    However, there is also right vs. wrong in the moral sense, with "right" meaning something like "prosocial" or "morally acceptable" or "justifiable." "Wrong" on the other hand would mean "morally objectionable" or "socially harmful" or however you reckon morality. In this sense, only opinions can be "wrong." A statement of objective fact is morally useful--now, you can have an opinion on whether sharing that objective fact at a specific time, in a specific manner, or at all is a morally correct thing to do based on the expected outcome of doing so, but a fact itself is morally agnostic.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2020-07-25 at 07:02 PM.

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