Popular “deafie” rebuttal: that’s just your opinion!

Opinion on Red Button Enter on Black Computer Keyboard.

Dontcha hate it whenever you present your thoughts with airtight reasoning or impeccable proof that something is or ought to be the case, the reason why something is going on or the reason why things must change, and then your meticulous demonstration is damned with the faint praise that it is merely just “yer opinion?”

Yes, it just happened.

A rather fine handwave, a pooh pooh, a scoff that dismisses the validity of your conclusions. It also alludes that your opinion is just as good as anyone else’s, and no better, despite the tools of logic or evidence, because knowledge is now subjective goo. Relativist shit like that implies that there are only opinions, or everything is a matter of opinion and there’s no way to judge between them. The reduction of all discourse to a level playing field also reduces knowledge, or true justified beliefs, to a smorgasboard of opinions that individuals can pick and choose from, according to their personal desires/biased beliefs/ignorance.

When it comes to opinions, democracy is the best method, but when it comes to knowledge, democracy is a liability that equalizes everything, for the knowledge of expert has little to nothing to do with the popular opinion of the general populace.

Unfortunately certain deafiez (as well as other intellectually lazy people) are prone to use this sort of strategy whenever they are confronted with an alternative to their convictions and one that is doubly potent and persuasive. Since the lazy person do not want to discuss the actual reasons (or lack of) behind his own convictions, he choose to assuage his intellectual pride by pulling the relativist card. But when that happens to me, I grow irritated at how I’ve wasted my energy and time with this tedious and facile relativist – he who is more than likely too scared or too embarrassed to even bother taking the discussion anywhere except have the last word with typical conversation stoppers – and inevitably, I grow disappointed with such pervasive sophistry among the general public.

There’s a big difference between knowledge and opinions. The truth of knowledge does not depend on the person, because they are objective, which means others can arrive at the same conclusions independently, and they are public. Knowledge must be justified independently of the original person who conceived of that particular concept. Whereas the truth of opinions are private and they depend on the person, since they are subjective, dependent on passions, tastes, inclinations, or desires that vary from individual to individual. An opinion need not be justified by any stretch of the imagination. The reason why somebody likes a certain thing is not amenable to rational standards.

Why do I prefer Seire R cigars?

True knowledge comes from history, from authority, from the experts and from the practitioners. Anybody can form an opinion about something without ever experiencing it, studying it, or observing it. An opinion is something easily arrived at, but knowledge takes years of practice, years of study or training. One is easily gained or dropped, the other is difficult and worth keeping.

Opinions are like assholes, cuz everybody’s got one, but very few actually do know something.

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...a philosophisticator who utters heresies, thinks theothanatologically and draws like Kirby on steroids.

5 thoughts on “Popular “deafie” rebuttal: that’s just your opinion!

  1. I can definitely relate to your feelings of frustration because I’ve been there. That feeling of “What do you mean??? Look at the evidence
    I’ve produced!” is incredibly vexing. However, we need to keep in mind that sometimes the “It’s your opinion” argument is valid. Before you let go of that strangled gasp, allow me to elaborate. We form opinions after years of honing our knowledge in a topic as well as on-the-fly. When we present arguments, we are actually offering our personal interpretation of a body of knowledge. We are holding up a certain prism and refracting knowledge to display light in specific ways. Ergo, yeah, it IS our opinion. I’m sure this is not what you wanted to hear, but I definitely empathize. *smile*

  2. Oh, i’m not saying all opinions are automatically invalid, just that this “deaf logic” is routinely abused:

    Me: Godel’s proofs demonstrates that within any given branch of mathematics, there are always some propositions that cannot be proven either true or false by using the rules and axioms of that mathematical branch itself.
    Deafie: That’s just your opinion!

    Me: If she lives in California, then she must live in the United States.
    Deafie: That’s just your opinion!

    Me: The Infiniti G35 outperforms the Nissan Altima.
    Deafie: .That’s just your opinion!

    Me: Fight Club is the greatest film of the past 10 years.
    Deafie: That’s just your opinion!

    Okay, the last one is actually my opinion, but even so, besides the examples of logic and fact, there is a difference between an informed opinion and your average, everyday opinion. Thinking critically and researching before arriving at an informed opinion should make it much more respected than an emotional, knee-jerk outburst, no?

    But of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong. SMILE

  3. I’m going to run off Moi’s comments and throw something your direction.

    Post-modern psychological theories do hold that all knowledge is subjective since knowledge is nothing more than perception. Knowledge is gained through hermeneutical cycles which, of course, involves application of the subjective to what would otherwise be objective. This even applies to what should be tautological truths.

    Lets consider the tautology: 2+2 = 4. With enough techniques, I can convince someone that 2+2=5. Granted, 2+2 != 5; however, this someone is absolutely convinced that 2+2=5. That would be his subjective truth.

    These little fishy truths are quite annoying, but the subjective can never be completely discounted. Witness the phenomenom of the “liberal” media. Liberal, my ass.

    Of course, an Infiniti G35 will not always outperform a Nissan Altima, unless you specify that both cars are completely stock, with drivers of the same skill, and with no apparent malfunctions. Of course, the Infiniti will have to be painted a faster color.

  4. Otto, thanks for the clarification. I see where you’re coming from and I agree that “That’s just your opinion” isn’t an appropriate response for the first few examples you gave in your comment. *grin* I absolutely agree that an opinion formed through research and becoming familiar with a topic is more reliable than an opinion formed quickly.

    That said, jon makes a compelling point as well. That wasn’t where I was headed in my response to you, but I was actually thinking along the same lines when I first read your post. *grin*

  5. Thanks for the interesting comments, Jon. I’m not familiar about the “postmodern” psychologists, but that song and dance is pretty much identical to perspectivism. For those who aren’t familiar, this epistemological black hole comes from Nietzsche, where he pronounced infamously that there are no facts, but merely interpretations, contending with many other interpretations. However, this quickly unleashes a self-reference paradox, that if the view (no facts but interpretations) is itself merely an interpretation, then, not every view is necessarily an interpretation. Therefore, perspectivism is self-refuting because its thesis also applies to itself. Of course, this is when postmodernists conveniently turn deaf to reason, and juice up the rhetoric.

    There are several escape hatches for the perspectivist. To avoid the paradox of self-reference, we can look up shrewd readers like Nehamas, where he correctly pointed out that perspectivized perspectivism escapes self-referential inconsistency. Alas, poor Yorick! What Nehemas fails to realize is that perspectivized perspectivism falls victim to other quite damaging objections.

    Let P be the thesis of perspectivism: All truths are perspectival (a much neater proposition than Fritz’s dictum)

    The consistent perspectivist must say that P is itself perspectivally true. Call this P’. Since P’ is true, it must in turn be perspectivally

    true. Call this P”. Ladieeez und gennlemen, we have an infinite regress! A smart Aleck would bluster “Surely not every such regress is vicious! Some regresses are, if not exactly virtuous, at least benign.” (I.e., similar to how the regress of absolute truths is an example of a benign regress: Q; it is true that Q; it is true that it is true that Q; ……)

    But the smart aleck is too clever for his own good. These examples are not identical, because we have no need for the regress. Q is absolutely true; it stands on its own, and the iterations are just along for the ride. But in the regress of perspectival truths, no term stands alone; each refers to the next for completion. Thus, P; it is true for N that P; it is true for M that it is true for N that P; and so on.

    In other words, “All truths are perspectival” is elliptical for “All truths are perspectival from your perspective” just as “It is hot in here” is elliptical for “It is hot in here from your perspective.” Therefore, the infinite regress of perspectival truths is quite vicious. For what explains the truth of the first term is the truth of the second term, but the truth of the second term, since it is not absolute, still requires explanation in terms of the truth of the third term, and ad infinitum. By contrast, the regress of absolute truths is such that no term’s truth is needed to explain the truth of any other term. The clever fella would propose a case in which N = M in the perspectival regress. In this case the regress terminates, but we end up in the holding pattern of circular reasoning.

    Let’s go back to Nehemas. Perspectivized perspectivism, because it doesn’t assert itself as absolutely true, cannot deliver on the possibility of absolute truths. Given this possibility, perspectivized perspectivism, if true, is at best merely contingently true: true from some, but not all, possible perspectives. Well, then perspectivized perspectivism tells us nothing at all about the nature of truth. And if perspectivism is not a claim about the nature of truth, then what the hell is it?

    There is a third point. Under severe pressure by dialecticans, these relativists and perspectivists may be forced to fall back on some relativized or perspectivized position, where in the place of the abstract, third-person omniscient voice of the philosopher, the perspectivist employs the first-person, (singular, sometimes plural) in order to state his/her own interpretation.

    Well, how disappointing. This sure isn’t the perspectivist’s original intention to put forth some relativized/perspectivized form of relativism/perspectivism. It couldn’t have been his intention as a philosopher to say something of the form: “This is my opinion, but since it is merely my opinion, you need not take it seriously.” So even if perspectivized perspectivism were free of such logical difficulties as vicious infinite regress, it would be just too flaccid of a thesis to merit much philosophical substance.

    Bottom line: Absolute perspectivism, which tries to say something about the essence of truth, is self-referentially inconsistent, while perspectivized perspectivism, which fails to say anything about the essence of truth, is viciously regressive. We could resort to different order truths, but that’s another story, perhaps for another blog.

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