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  1. #1
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Default 'Just my opinion'

    On this forum and throughout our culture I find the phrase in the title of this thread quite common. 'It is just my opinion'. On the most basic level, such a notion simply means this is what I think and nothing else. In other words, I am no authority on the subject, so you don't have to accept my beliefs uncritically or you don't have to believe what I believe. That is all well and good, we shouldn't thoughtlessly believe in many of the views that we come across, however, this phrase carries another far more ominous connotation.

    Usually the conversationalist makes this utterance after they have stated a view about the world, and often a controversial one. For the sake of an example, view the post of one of our members below.

    Quote Originally Posted by ;
    The appearance of it being on the rise is just that though, something people can see wider because the ability to see wider is available.

    The worship of it has always been there, flatterers to the rich, hoardes of adoring fans, it was always there, but now everyone, thanks to the media, can partake in it, join in the worship and be seen to do it.

    I don't think the people are any different, just the lifestyles.

    Just my opinion though.

    Such a tactic allows the communicator to deny responsibility for his or her actions and thereby render the expressed views impervious to criticism. He or she puts forth an appeal to pity by implying that since the notion in question is a mere 'opinion', it ought not to be questioned or criticized.

    What's wrong with a view that can't be questioned? First of all it gets people thinking about an important matter and leads them to suppose that there is something to the 'just my opinion' and portrays any contrary notion as flatly unacceptable. In short, this phrase appears to be no more than an instance of harmless politeness at the outset, yet is actually an insidious strategy for people to force their views on others without carrying any responsibility for any harm or false beliefs incurred by others as a result.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  2. #2
    12 and a half weeks BerberElla's Avatar
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    In short, this phrase that on the superficial level appears to be no more than harmless politeness is actually an insidious tactic for people to force their views on others without carrying any responsibility for any harm or false beliefs incurred by others as a result.
    No it isn't, it's me simply stating that it's just my opinion and I am not in anyway trying to force my views on anyone, just stating them. I say it because I am concerned the other person might see me assuming I have some kind of authority on the subject matters, when in reality I am just stating my opinion. You are weclome to challenge it, it is not attempting to force anything on you.

    It is just my wish for no one to assume I am claiming to be an authority.

    Why would you see insidious intention where none is? after all, it is my post you picked out.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    What's wrong with a view that can't be questioned? First of all it gets people thinking about an important matter and leads them to suppose that there is something to the 'just my opinion' and portrays any contrary notion as flatly unacceptable.
    Do you mean that any such notion is contrary to the opinion itself, or contrary to the position that it is opinion? In the former case, I'd think that most who use the phrase "just my opinion" honestly would allow others to hold opinions that are contrary to their own. To do otherwise would imply that they actually believe that their opinions are fact.

  4. #4
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    It can also be a way of taking responsibility for understanding personal limits. When I read that phrase I think the person would probably back down more quickly if the idea is challenged than if they had not made that statement. It communicates that the person has woven together a conclusion based on certain fragments of experience and knowledge, but does not consider the statement a final conclusion. It sounds more like a place-holder conclusion until more information comes along. It can imply open-mindedness.

    People probably use the phrase for a variety of reasons. I would go ahead and challenge any statement regardless of that phrase, but just realize the other person will probably back down or not desire to defend the position if they do not consider it final or universal in its applications.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Shimmy's Avatar
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    SolitaryWalker, you're over analysing, but that's just my opinion.
    (removed)

  6. #6
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    While that is not what "just my opinion" amounts to 100% of the time it used, I agree that it is frequently used in that manner and I dare say is being used that way more often.

    I'm increasingly disliking the phrase.
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  7. #7
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post
    Do you mean that any such notion is contrary to the opinion itself, or contrary to the position that it is opinion? In the former case, I'd think that most who use the phrase "just my opinion" honestly would allow others to hold opinions that are contrary to their own. To do otherwise would imply that they actually believe that their opinions are fact.
    True, if I say that my view is an opinion, I do not explicitly state that my view is correct or that it is factual. However, I do imply this. Have you heard of Moore's paradox? Its a thesis that you can't say you believe X and that X is false. So when I say it is just my opinion that X is so and so, I am saying that I believe that X is indeed so and so. Thereby I imply that I think that my view is true or factual.

    In other words, just because I do not explicitly state that my view is factual, it does not mean that I do not at all communicate a message that it is. In fact I indeed did communicate that message just by voicing my opinion in the first place.


    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    People probably use the phrase for a variety of reasons. I would go ahead and challenge any statement regardless of that phrase, but just realize the other person will probably back down or not desire to defend the position if they do not consider it final or universal in its applications.

    I think that you're correct to say that people who use that phrase are often more likely to back down when challenged, however, the problem is that by making that utterance they render their own views difficult to challenge. The fact that challenging someone who prefaces his or her comment as 'just my opinion' is impolite documents the very high degree of their success.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  8. #8
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post

    Such a tactic allows the communicator to deny responsibility for his or her actions and thereby render the expressed views impervious to criticism. He or she puts forth an appeal to pity by implying that since the notion in question is a mere 'opinion', it ought not to be questioned or criticized.

    What's wrong with a view that can't be questioned? First of all it gets people thinking about an important matter and leads them to suppose that there is something to the 'just my opinion' and portrays any contrary notion as flatly unacceptable. In short, this phrase appears to be no more than an instance of harmless politeness at the outset, yet is actually an insidious strategy for people to force their views on others without carrying any responsibility for any harm or false beliefs incurred by others as a result.
    I don't use "imo" in this way at all. I use it as an Fe tool, if you will, to let others know it is indeed "in my opinion" meaning my opinion might be presumptuous and pompous and silly and overly analytical and unintelligible and illogical, but it is my opinion and I am taking the liberty of stating my opinion no matter if you agree or not. Yet I am not making any assumptions about you liking or disliking my opinion, and I'M GOING OUT OF MY WAY to let you know I'm not making the assumption that you feel one iota in agreement with me about my said opinion.

    Not forcing, sharing. If you are reading my post, it is your responsibility to do with it what you will.

    EDIT: and fwiw, I welcome healthy debate about my opinions as long as I have the time to debate. But i will curtail so-called debates if people harass me or become belligerent with me. I see no reason that a debate need become nasty.
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  9. #9
    No Cigar Litvyak's Avatar
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    Exactly. And if I don't use such disclaimers, I'm being arrogant and judgemental.
    Such an annoying little trick.

  10. #10
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    I'm rarely using "its just my opinion" to deny responsibility; I am using it to confirm whether I consider there is a weight of opinion other than my own behind what i said.

    Maybe that's because I am not - generally speaking - insecure enough to need a "tactic"?

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