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Academia and teaching Headspace

On opinions, and how the world needs editors

The reading material for my “Evidence-based Management” course at the University of Cape Town contains an early draft of what ended up becoming chapter 1 of Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudoscience.

Springer book coverIn the book, Dr. Caleb Lack and I argue that phrases like “everybody is entitled to their opinions” are typically trite or misleading.

They can be meaningless, in the sense that of course it’s true that everyone is legally entitled to hold whatever opinions they like.

This doesn’t seem to be what we mean when using the phrase, though – we typically say: “well, you’re entitled to your opinion” precisely when an opinion has been expressed, where we disagree with the expressed opinion, and where we express that disagreement by using the phrase in question.

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Daily Maverick External World

Insecurity, and the certainty it spawns

As published in The Daily Maverick

The social lottery of seating arrangements at a recent wedding provided numerous examples of the strangeness of our species. The particular sort of strangeness that was most apparent was our desire or need to have an opinion, even in cases where nothing seems to be at stake, or where the opinion-holder stands no chance of affecting the relevant debate. Much conversation revolved around the equally strange South African political landscape, as one might expect, but there was no shortage of discussion around the British election, despite the fact that many attendees had only snippets from the newswires to draw on as evidence.