Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fact VS Opinion

I have a hard time believing this, but schools are using my "Professor Garfield: Fact VS Opinion" video in classes.

It's extra-weird, because I completely disagree with most of what Garfield says, and I use this as a springboard to debunk modern epistemology. That is, I make fun of these two definitions:

Fact: Something that can be PROVEN true.
Opinion: Something that CANNOT be proven true or false.

Those are bad definitions, for several reasons.

1. What do you call something that can be proven false?

2. The definition of "opinion" is wrong. Opinions CAN be true or false. For example, I am of the opinion that Barrack Obama is the President of the United States, and my fiancé's grandmother is of the opinion that I am a dunderhead.

3. The definitions want proof to be the main criteria for determining if something is fact or opinion. I agree that facts should be proven. But since "proof" is not properly defined, these definitions don't help anyone.

You see this on the Internet a lot. No one agrees on what "proof" is. And so their working definitions of "fact" and "opinion" morph into "what I like" and "what I dislike". Take the video for example! The author dislikes Wikipedia, and even though Wikipedia has tons of true facts, it is dismissed as being an opinion site.

4. If you apply the definitions to themselves, the definition of "fact" falls under the category of "opinion". That is, the definition is the OPINION of whoever wrote the piece.

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