Facts vs. Opinions: Helping Students Overcome the Distinction

Teaching Philosophy 45 (3):267-277 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Many students struggle to enter moral debates in a productive way because they automatically think of moral claims as ‘just opinions’ and not something one could productively argue about. Underlying this response are various versions of a muddled distinction between ‘facts’ and ‘opinions.’ This paper outlines a way to help students overcome their use of this distinction, thereby clearing an obstacle to true moral debate. It explains why the fact-opinion distinction should simply be scrapped, rather than merely sharpened. It then proposes a different distinction well suited to replace it. Finally, it outlines an activity which can be used to teach the new distinction, as well as a number of benefits to attempting the whole replacement process.

Author's Profile

Galen Barry
Iona University


Added to PP

133 (#57,173)

6 months
37 (#44,619)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?