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"Why are children don't think there are moral

popculturepooka
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3/2/2015 10:24:50 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
...facts"

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...

I agree, this artificial distinction drives me crazy. This should probably be in philosophy but since there's so much talk about objective morality here lately I thought some might like to read this.

Important part:

"Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.

Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.

Hoping that this set of definitions was a one-off mistake, I went home and Googled "fact vs. opinion." The definitions I found online were substantially the same as the one in my son"s classroom. As it turns out, the Common Core standards used by a majority of K-12 programs in the country require that students be able to "distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text." And the Common Core institute provides a helpful page full of links to definitions, lesson plans and quizzes to ensure that students can tell the difference between facts and opinions.

So what"s wrong with this distinction and how does it undermine the view that there are objective moral facts?

First, the definition of a fact waffles between truth and proof " two obviously different features. Things can be true even if no one can prove them. For example, it could be true that there is life elsewhere in the universe even though no one can prove it. Conversely, many of the things we once "proved" turned out to be false. For example, many people once thought that the earth was flat. It"s a mistake to confuse truth (a feature of the world) with proof (a feature of our mental lives). Furthermore, if proof is required for facts, then facts become person-relative. Something might be a fact for me if I can prove it but not a fact for you if you can"t. In that case, E=MC2 is a fact for a physicist but not for me.

But second, and worse, students are taught that claims are either facts or opinions. They are given quizzes in which they must sort claims into one camp or the other but not both. But if a fact is something that is true and an opinion is something that is believed, then many claims will obviously be both. For example, I asked my son about this distinction after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. We then had this conversation:

Me: "I believe that George Washington was the first president. Is that a fact or an opinion?"

Him: "It"s a fact."

Me: "But I believe it, and you said that what someone believes is an opinion."

Him: "Yeah, but it"s true."

Me: "So it"s both a fact and an opinion?"

The blank stare on his face said it all."
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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3/2/2015 10:45:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/2/2015 10:37:22 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
What an abysmal, overly simplistic article.

How?
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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3/2/2015 11:36:53 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/2/2015 10:24:50 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
...facts"

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...

I agree, this artificial distinction drives me crazy. This should probably be in philosophy but since there's so much talk about objective morality here lately I thought some might like to read this.

Important part:

"Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.

Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.

Hoping that this set of definitions was a one-off mistake, I went home and Googled "fact vs. opinion." The definitions I found online were substantially the same as the one in my son"s classroom. As it turns out, the Common Core standards used by a majority of K-12 programs in the country require that students be able to "distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text." And the Common Core institute provides a helpful page full of links to definitions, lesson plans and quizzes to ensure that students can tell the difference between facts and opinions.

So what"s wrong with this distinction and how does it undermine the view that there are objective moral facts?

First, the definition of a fact waffles between truth and proof " two obviously different features. Things can be true even if no one can prove them. For example, it could be true that there is life elsewhere in the universe even though no one can prove it. Conversely, many of the things we once "proved" turned out to be false. For example, many people once thought that the earth was flat. It"s a mistake to confuse truth (a feature of the world) with proof (a feature of our mental lives). Furthermore, if proof is required for facts, then facts become person-relative. Something might be a fact for me if I can prove it but not a fact for you if you can"t. In that case, E=MC2 is a fact for a physicist but not for me.

But second, and worse, students are taught that claims are either facts or opinions. They are given quizzes in which they must sort claims into one camp or the other but not both. But if a fact is something that is true and an opinion is something that is believed, then many claims will obviously be both. For example, I asked my son about this distinction after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. We then had this conversation:

Me: "I believe that George Washington was the first president. Is that a fact or an opinion?"

Him: "It"s a fact."

Me: "But I believe it, and you said that what someone believes is an opinion."

Him: "Yeah, but it"s true."

Me: "So it"s both a fact and an opinion?"

The blank stare on his face said it all."

I think the main point of the arcticle is regarding the education system when it comes to those philosophical issues, rather than the philosophical issues themselves.

So, while I disagree with the presupposition in the arcticle regarding morals, and morals were indeed the motivation behind the arcticle, that wasn't the arcticle' real message, which I though was pretty well summised in the arcticle.
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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3/3/2015 2:56:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/2/2015 10:45:22 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 3/2/2015 10:37:22 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
What an abysmal, overly simplistic article.

How?

It's a thoroughly rudimentary and somewhat disjointed look at the issue. He clearly distinguishes "knowledge" from "facts" but doesn't discuss the significance of this. There's no reference to what is probably the most common definition of knowledge as "justified true belief" or the general concept of knowledge being a specific subtype of belief.

I actually agree that the situation he outlines, whereby schools are teaching a misleading "fact or opinion" dichotomy, is one that needs addressing. I just think that the rest of the article is a poorly-written and lacking any proper philosophical treatment of the underlying question. Yes, we can believe something to be true and it actually be true. Great. But why does he seem to classify "mistaken belief" as "knowledge"? That"s not a difficult distinction to recognise, but he conflates the two by saying that there were things we knew that turned out to be false. No, there weren't! Instead of using this as an example of how we can have beliefs that may be well-supported and almost indistinguishable from items of knowledge, they are not items of knowledge.

Basically, if you"re going to complain about schools giving a misleading, incomplete account of epistemic and doxastic categorisation, don"t do so in a misleading, incomplete way.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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3/3/2015 8:32:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/2/2015 10:24:50 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
...facts"

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...

I agree, this artificial distinction drives me crazy. This should probably be in philosophy but since there's so much talk about objective morality here lately I thought some might like to read this.

Important part:

"Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.

Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.

Hoping that this set of definitions was a one-off mistake, I went home and Googled "fact vs. opinion." The definitions I found online were substantially the same as the one in my son"s classroom. As it turns out, the Common Core standards used by a majority of K-12 programs in the country require that students be able to "distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text." And the Common Core institute provides a helpful page full of links to definitions, lesson plans and quizzes to ensure that students can tell the difference between facts and opinions.

So what"s wrong with this distinction and how does it undermine the view that there are objective moral facts?

First, the definition of a fact waffles between truth and proof " two obviously different features. Things can be true even if no one can prove them. For example, it could be true that there is life elsewhere in the universe even though no one can prove it.

Hint: May be true. That doesn't mean it is. The only fact is that we don't know for sure.

Conversely, many of the things we once "proved" turned out to be false. For example, many people once thought that the earth was flat.

Second Hint: Thought the world was flat. This was based on limited evidence and was mostly just an assumption. No study done except by ancient Greeks, whose knowledge was suppressed by the Church.

It"s a mistake to confuse truth (a feature of the world) with proof (a feature of our mental lives).

Truth means it accurately reflects reality. Proof is only used in science as a mathematical term when an equation is balanced.

Furthermore, if proof is required for facts,

Got that backward. Facts are required as evidence to support that an assertion is true, not the other way around.

then facts become person-relative.

Uh-uh. Facts are separate from the individual and can be verified independently by any individual who chooses to examine them.

Something might be a fact for me if I can prove it but not a fact for you if you can"t. In that case, E=MC2 is a fact for a physicist but not for me.

How do you consider E=mc2 not a fact when it was part of the formula that detonated the first atomic bomb and all the other nuclear devices since? That's just plain foolish.

But second, and worse, students are taught that claims are either facts or opinions. They are given quizzes in which they must sort claims into one camp or the other but not both. But if a fact is something that is true and an opinion is something that is believed, then many claims will obviously be both. For example, I asked my son about this distinction after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. We then had this conversation:

Me: "I believe that George Washington was the first president. Is that a fact or an opinion?"

Him: "It"s a fact."

Me: "But I believe it, and you said that what someone believes is an opinion."

Him: "Yeah, but it"s true."

Me: "So it"s both a fact and an opinion?"

The blank stare on his face said it all."

What a poor way to treat your children. There are any number of ways you could have phrased that and not made him feel confused or stupid. I'm glad you were never my parent. You, sir, need to stop using your children to feed your own need to feel superior.