(An edited version of this article was published in
“The Skeptic” Vol 37, No. 2, June 2017)
The claim ‘I’m entitled to my opinion’ or ‘I have a right to my opinion’ is a logical fallacy in which a person attempts to reject objections to their argument by claiming that they are entitled to their opinion. This claim is usually uttered by people in disagreement when they have hit the wall in defending their point on its merits. It is a last ditch rhetorical device that attempts to rescue their position by defending their right to hold an opinion, no matter how ill-founded or wrong that opinion might be.
The claim exemplifies a red herring. The right to have an opinion is not what is in dispute. Whether one has a particular entitlement or right is irrelevant to whether one’s opinion is true or false. To assert the existence of the right is a failure to provide any justification for the content of the opinion. The claim also implies that all opinions are equal, which exemplifies the relativist fallacy.
The entitlement claim would be relevant only if it guaranteed the truth of your opinions. But it can’t do that, because it is an entitlement supposedly enjoyed by everybody. And people disagree. Two debaters are both entitled to their contradictory opinions about a given issue, but they can’t both be right.  So insisting that you are entitled to your opinion cannot possibly give you any logical advantage in a debate.
 The relativist fallacy, also known as the subjectivist fallacy, is claiming that something is true for one person but not true for someone else. The fallacy rests on the law of noncontradiction. The fallacy applies only to objective facts, or what are alleged to be objective facts, rather than to personal tastes or subjective experiences.
 In classical logic, the law of non-contradiction (LNC) is the second of the three classic laws of thought. It states that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time, e.g. the two propositions ‘A is B’ and ‘A is not B’ are mutually exclusive.
Harding, Tim ‘Who needs to Know?’ The Skeptic magazine, September 2015, Vol 36 No 3 p.36.
Stokes, Patrick., ‘No, you’re not entitled to your opinion’. The Conversation. October 5, 2012.
Whyte, Jamie (August 9, 2004). ‘Sorry, but you are not entitled to your opinion’. The Times. News UK.
2 responses to “‘I’m entitled to my opinion’”
Reblogged this on autisticagainstantivaxxers.
It’s also an example of equivocation and (I’m not sure if this is the correct term) Trojan Horse; I’m entitled (by law, and as a matter of freedom of thought) to my opinion (true) used to inply that my opinion has merit; “entitled to” (permitted to have) switched to “entitled to” (warranted)