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Everyone Is Entitled To Their Own Opinion

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1667 words Published: 21st Apr 2017

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On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Following this significant act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to announce the text of the Declaration, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without difference based on the political status of countries or territories. So the question, if everyone is entitled to their own opinion could find ease answer in the article 19, in which is stated that Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.(David Weissbrodt and Connie de la Vega , p102)

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This universal declaration of human right set a worldwide standard of achievement for all people and all nations, to the end that every human being and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, and make every effort by teaching and encourage respect for these rights and freedoms , nationally and internationally, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the people of Member States themselves and among the people of territory under their influence.

Definitely the recognition of equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the underpinning of freedom, peace and justice in the world. We can confirm that wherever, either in the past or in the present time or future there is the absence of such status we will always experience result of barbaric acts.

Of course Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan declaration “Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts”., will change the opinion about opinions .So opinions can hold opposing views, but those opinions must be based on factual truths, and hold specific characteristics such as, prevent harm to others, avoid source of offence or be offensive and of course avoiding moral transgressions. (Tom Gorman, 2007 p.100-102)

We can say that, dangerous opinions lead to dangerous actions or fact. And when they do, we need to stand up and strongly criticise those dangerous actions and be critical of the beliefs which lead to those actions. Now again, we are not talking about outlawing those dangerous opinions and beliefs, but we are talking about being critical of those opinions and beliefs. We could be supportive to the ACLU (American Civil Liberty Union) when they protected the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) for their right to march- demo peacefully. But if they wanted to march peacefully in our cities, maybe we would be on the sidelines being very critical of their beliefs and against those views. In our analysis however, no opinions should be above criticism. We believe in the marketplace of ideas and in that bazaar all opinions and beliefs are welcome and should be similarly open to criticism.

We all, not only criticise other people’s opinions every day, but no one would argue that it was immoral to express opinion or to criticise them. No one has a difficulty criticising what Hitler did to the Jews. Nor do people have concern in criticising the KKK for their views, or that Tom Cruise is constantly criticised for his religious viewpoint and so for the majority of Christians, Jews and Muslims that usually are underlined with criticism for their opinion .Of course the moment anyone criticises opinion and beliefs, we will have attempt to over dramatise the criticism with claims of intolerance and/or hate. Insinuations are made that their free speech is being taken away; creating a big misunderstanding of what really is freedom of opinion.

Then to avoid such misunderstanding we should analyse the ramification of the different aspect of opinion, to fully appreciate the importance of a word and knowledge and how we could make the best use out of it.

We could start doing so by using a philosophical approach. Now if we think that Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom, we know that opinion and supposition are inconsistent with logic. There is no hesitation in thinking, that philosophy provides the practice of scientific reasoning, and so the knowledge of things and their causes, through reason and dialogue. It is a way of comprehending what is factual and what is correct by focusing on rational understanding and analysis, or simply what makes sense. So once we establish this concept we can move on to the second approach, in which , principles travel the opposite way of the first approach ,but worthy to be taken under consideration .So we will look at the expression of opinion under intellectual point of view and, if it should be voiced freely by any individual .

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We can say that an Intelligent person whether his opinion is based on fact or not, will make the difference. Already, for someone to have his opinion makes the biggest difference. An educated person has an opinion on any matter; .and can give a plausible answer on any question. The reply does not have to be exact, or even precise, but an individual must have some opinion to discuss on the subject. Thus, it is not indispensable to know the facts in order to express an opinion; an opinion may even be entirely unsupported in an argument.

So also examining the expression of opinion under academic view, we can confirm that any one is entitled to their own opinion, especially those individuals with a particular cultural preparation, since, we know that if an opinion is not founded on demonstrated and valid information, it is irrelevant. Of course we can argue that, on a certain extend, because if we do consider the examination of relativity of the opinion, we would find a different prospective. In the language of relativity, everyone is accurate. Possibly from their particular point of view, everyone is in the situation of believing that they have accurately determined the order of events.

However, we know that it is not possible for everyone to be right. For example If everyone has a diverse opinion about which is the best classical painter of all time in the world it may not be possible to determine finally who is correct, and so we may be tempted to say that they are both entitled to their opinion or point of view. So entitled or not, the best painter is by designation only one , and the opinions of all but one admirer are wrong, even though it’s not possible to say whose opinion is correct .At this point it will be important to examine the understanding of true in believing the opinion. Everyone should have the independence to seize their own beliefs and the freedom to attempt convincing others of the truth of those beliefs and opinions. But as we know, not all beliefs can in fact be equally true. If you believe that a painting completed by Mr Jones is superior than the one done by Michelangelo, or that someone says that the summer in Egypt is warmer than the one in Italy and we believe it is wrongly the way around , we could both be wrong , but we can not both be right. If we believe the Mount Etna is an Active volcano, and you believe that it is not, we can not both be right. When it comes to the difference between an active volcano or not, we can not say everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Moderately, we look at the proofs and facts, and try to outline whose opinion is really right. Clearly before expressing opinion we should examine the possible evidence, and not dismiss the case without even looking at it. So it is important before believing in particular opinion the examination of evidence. So, trying to understand, how we could become different from the kind of person who would ignore the evidence, and still believe in his own opinion. And in doing so we may encounter the examination of the probable opinion, philosophically well illustrated by Bertrand Russell: “What we strongly believe, if it is true, is called knowledge, provided it is either intuitive or indirect (logically or psychologically) an intuitive knowledge from which it follows logically. What we firmly believe, if it is not true, is called error”. What we firmly believe, if it is neither knowledge nor error, and also what we believe undecided, because it is, or is derived from, something which has not the main extent of self-evidence, may be called ‘probable opinion’. Thus the larger part of what would regularly pass as knowledge is more or less probable opinion. A body of individually probable opinions, if they are mutually rational, become more probable than any one of them would be individually. It is in this way that many scientific hypotheses obtain their probability. They fit into a coherent system of probable opinions, and thus become more probable than they would be in isolation.

The same thing applies to general philosophical hypotheses. Often in a single case such hypotheses may appear extremely doubtful, while yet, when we consider the order and coherence which they introduce into a mass of probable opinion, they turn into almost certain. (Bertrand Russell, 2001 p.138-139-Probable Opinion” By Bertrand Russell, Copyright 2001 (pg.138-139)

Concluding we can say that opinions are not the problem , problems occur when people begin using opinion to segregate and insult .Is unquestionably true that everybody is entitled to their own opinion .It is a process that can neither be stopped nor guarded .So the last question is, “Should every one be allowed to their own opinion ?” The answer is that it is up to each individual to choose whether voicing their opinion on a topic, is valuable or not. We know that voicing opinion in certain circumstances may lead to dreadful consequences and if we would do so, we should be prepared to deal with those consequences.


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