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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 26, Issue 3, September 2003

Thomas Bittner
Pages 247-259

There are No Matters of Opinion
An Exercise for Introductory Philosophy Classes

This paper contends that an effective way to elicit student interest in philosophical problems is to engage them in controversies they care about. The author describes an exercise that introduces basic elements of rational discourse, e.g. truth, belief, facts, rational disagreement, by questioning whether there any matters of opinion. In addition to providing an argument why there are no matters of opinion, the paper describes standard student responses and counterexamples to being told there are no matters of opinion, and offers suggestions on how best to respond to said responses.

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