How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 Fact and Opinion
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Fact and Opinion

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 01-11-2001 06:25 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Some of you are very aware that I usually sign off with "just an opinion." I started doing this primarily to say, "Hey, I am not telling you what to do but I do have something to say. If you disagree, that's fine. What do you have to say? Let's talk about." Yet, increasingly, I wonder if that's the right way to go.

Somewhere along the line, stating that what you wrote was an opinion became a kind of defense mechanism to avoid confrontation, "It's just my opinion, take it or leave it." I don't understand this.

As far as I can tell the reasoning goes as such: opinions are, in essence, unbased, subjective assertions of a particular point of view -- they can't be refuted in a logical way and therefore are free from any kind of challenge.

That is, there's no point in discussing opinions because they aren't based on anything resembling common points -- they are arbitrary, chaotic, free wheeling; and as a result, they are pointless to argue, debate, discuss or theorize. They just are.

That is, don't talk about them.

Facts, on the other hand, are objective. They are beyond the individual, the community, the state; they are eternally true. If one challenges facts, that person is in error. In practice, stating a fact is beyond challenge; in essence, you are asserting a point that is (again) not debatable. By challenging a fact, you risk the accusation of ignorance or stupidity.

That is, don't talk about them.

What interests me in both cases is that neither has to be explained; they must be accepted (which doesn't mean agreement) without any process of conversation, of challenge, of actual interaction.

Why?

When did freedom of speech and the right to an opinion become the ability to go unchallenged? When did these two ideas become the ability to shut off another's ability to free speech and to have an opinion?

When did stating something as a fact become the ability to go unchallenged? When did stating something as a fact become the ability to shut off another's ability to engage in debate on the facticity of that fact?

Facts abound, opinions are rampant, speech is ever present but what seems to have disappeared is, well,
conversation.

What bothers me here is twofold: On the one hand, the only type of conversation possible in this situation is hierarchical (teacher/student; parent/child and so forth). On the other hand, it hypostatizes opinions and facts in such a way as to cordon off possible change.

Whatever happened to seeing each other as equals?

What is wrong with changing your mind?

Just a complaint,
Brad



Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


1 posted 01-11-2001 09:35 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I'm not so certain, Brad, that opinions and facts can be so easily segregated.

Some opinions are certainly unbased, subjective assertions of a particular point of view (we often called them prejudices), but I think many if not most are interpretations of evidence. If you present your opinion and I ask you to justify it, we have a conversation. Whether we agree or disagree on the interpretation, that conversation need only end if it becomes apparent one of us  cannot (or will not) present a justification. "That's just the way it is" or "Gee, everyone knows that" are pretty good indications the discussion has concluded.  

Likewise, while there are some facts that are pretty much irrefutable, most are interpretations of evidence. Gee, that sounds an awful like an opinion, doesn't it. And, indeed, I think most so-called facts are, indeed, little more than opinions - albeit, in some cases, very strongly supported opinions. There's another thread in Philosophy circulating right now, about the nature of the Universe, and it's plumb full of those kinds of facts. Some are presented as opinions (or theories), some are presented as fact, but the only difference between the two is the amount (and the interpretation) of the evidence.

If you state something, Brad, calling it an opinion, and I happen to disagree, there's a pretty good chance I'll ask to you to explain the rational of your opinion (and I'll probably explain mine, whether you ask or not   ). If you state something, calling it a fact, and I happen to disagree, I'm probably going to ask for proof. In either case, opinion or fact, the door has been opened for conversation.

Actually, you know what I think is the fastest way to end a discussion? The words, "I agree."
M'Hal
Junior Member
since 01-04-2001
Posts 15


2 posted 01-12-2001 12:07 AM       View Profile for M'Hal   Email M'Hal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for M'Hal

Now here's a familiar thought!

I would say that finding a fact everyone agrees on as objective is a feat in and of itself.  There are so many angles that challenge just about any "fact" you come upon.

Can my words give another something I never even thought of while composing them?  Or rather, am I o.k. with my objective truth being anothers subjective?  Do I have the power to name objective truth?  Does anyone?  Does God?  Oh, wait, I forgot he's subjective too, forgive the slip...

I could drive myself to insanity debating this.  You gotta let go of your truth, (this doesn't mean you don't hold it as truth anymore), and love others' views for what there worth.

I hear and add my voice to your complaint.

M'Hal

Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA


3 posted 01-12-2001 09:57 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Brad, I think I understand your point but I also think you are kicking the proverbial dead horse. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Yes, I have noticed that you quite often sign off that way. I sometimes do too. In fact many do in CA particularly. At least in my case, and I suspect most others too, it is intended to ease any sharpness of the preceeding critique. Now I don't claim this is necessary or even desirable but I see it as just a courtesy. Specifically, if I have given a somewhat negative assessment of a poem, I want to be sure the author understands that I am no expert and don't think of myself as one. This seems a reasonable way to accomplish that. I think you do it for the same reason.

Of course this is more common as well as more important when addressing a relatively new member. Those of us who have been around long enough to have felt the claws of the ogre a few times have probably become hardened enough to not be offended by a negative comment or two. Besides we have seen that disclaimer enough times to understand that is is meant whether it is physically there or not.

Now on the more essoteric side of your question, well, that poses itself to become an interesting discussion here. But, I have to work some time so will try to join in later.

Pete
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


4 posted 01-14-2001 07:47 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Ron,

I agree.  

My interest here was to point out that both terms are used in the same way -- sometimes. That is, to free whatever is said from possible objections.

M'Hal,

Insanity disappears when you realize that both subjectivity and objectivity dissolve into each other and that that's no big deal.


Pete,

Well, I don't see myself kicking a live horse anytime soon. Really, I was just ranting; still, I see a certain danger here. If used as I tried to explain above, doesn't it lead to dogmatism?

Thanks to everybody who replied here. I'm rather surprised that anybody did.

Next?

Brad
White Wolf
Member
since 09-18-99
Posts 384
Somewhere in the vast wastelan


5 posted 01-15-2001 05:08 AM       View Profile for White Wolf   Email White Wolf   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for White Wolf

I will go next.  I believe that there are very few universal facts in that they are true for everyone.  The rest is purely opinions based in expierence, observations, interpretation, perceptions, idealisms, or others that are too many to list.  I remember when they said that butter was bad for you then they said it was good.  Which is truth?  Niether as they stand.  They are purely opinions based on observation and interpetation of different peoples.  Everything is open to debate but not every person is open to debate.  That about sums it up.

I believe there is a balance to everything.

The White Wolf
Jamie
Member Elite
since 06-26-2000
Posts 3219
Blue Heaven


6 posted 01-18-2001 07:14 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

.....and opinions change, as do facts, when the evidence and peer pressure lead them in a different directions---- is the world flat?  do many peole still think it is?..of course that is just my present opinion....


Jamie

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito. - Virgil.
"Yield thou not to adversity, but press on the more bravely".

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


7 posted 01-18-2001 08:26 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

White Wolf,
I like that "everything is open to debate but not every person is open to debate".

The question is why?

I admit there is a time and a place for debate and a time and a place to avoid debate but I wish we could at least agree on those times and places.

Perhaps we should debate that?  

Where does this insecurity (if it is insecurity) come from?

Prometheus,

Ever heard of the Flat Earth society?  

It's interesting that those who responded all seem to agree with the basic vagueness (fuzzy logic) of the two terms being used. Yet, how do you use them outside of the philosophy forum? How do you present opinions/facts when not directly confronting opinions/facts as rhetorical moves?

Just curious,
Brad
mark woolard
Member
since 01-02-2001
Posts 148


8 posted 01-19-2001 01:31 PM       View Profile for mark woolard   Email mark woolard   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for mark woolard

hoo-boy!  it seems that when someone presents a fact, and another person disagrees, it becomes the first person's subjective opinon.  fact/opinion are self-referencing (i hope i'm using that term right), and often form the redundant sequence

(A=B=A=B)

which is endless as long as individuals have no foundation upon which to base their arguements.  this, to me, is a reflection of the two-fold nature of the universe--not as a heierarchy, but as a cyclical network.  yes is no.  no is yes.  yin-yang.  your fact is an opinion, my opinion is a fact. . .

it's all cyclical.  it's all redundant.  a foundation must be established before any debate or arguement takes place, and i think this could possibly be the root of insecurity in some who fear debates.  overzealousness between two opposing fact holders can often be a turbulant malestrom, and with today's neanderthal human evolve, trubulance is the last thing a man wants after work.
Moon Dust
Deputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 06-11-99
Posts 2250
Skelmersdale, UK


9 posted 01-20-2001 10:03 PM       View Profile for Moon Dust   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Moon Dust

Okay my opinion of a fact is a opinion, yes the fact is scienificey proven. But a fact isn't univerisally true, theres at least 1% chance of that fact being wrong. So opinions and facts are the same thing to me.

Brad I don't think its the time or place to debate debates

No but seriously, I wouldn't know the answer to that one cos I have the same problem. And that being i'm always open for debate and sometimes I don't know when to stop. So I'll shut up now

Life has got to chnage,
Nothing stays the same,
Soon it will be time,
For me to move on.

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


10 posted 01-21-2001 08:15 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Maria,

Okay, no debating that!  

Mark,

Wow! You jump from a question of language usage to an entire cosmology, a cosmology that actually keeps the categorical distinctions I was trying to displace. A cyclical universe is ultimately a conservative one; it's all nice and neat.

I want to muddy things up.

Brad
 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> Fact and Opinion Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors