Fact or Opinion?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Aperture, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #1
    Hi Guys. In Civics today we were doing an extremely easy paper: Fact or Opinion. It would give a sentence and you had to explain why or why not it was a fact. I turned mine in, & got it back with one marked wrong while I strongly feel it was correct. I asked him about it and he insisted my answer was indeed wrong. I'm just curious about the MR crowd's opinion.

    Here is the statement w/ my answer..

    Code:
    Fact or Opinion?
    
    Question: The tuition amounts are expected to rise.
    
    My Answer: Fact, because it can be proven the tuition is EXPECTED to rise. Whether or not they are going to is another story. 
    
    
    I certainly feel it can be proven they are expected to rise. For example, say The Board Of Whatever™ is expecting tuition costs to rise. Could it not be proven they are expecting them to rise?


    What do you guys think?
     
  2. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    #2
    You're right, that can be proven VERY easily.

    How can that NOT be a fact, of course they're going to rise! EVERYTHING rises!:confused:
     
  3. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #3
    I think its an opinion as some people might not expect the tuition fees to rise, (for example, the school might want to be better value for money to attract more students )
     
  4. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #4
    I always learned that facts were things that could be proven one way or another and opinions were things that couldn't. If that is the case, then how do you prove an expectation? By asking? Asking whom? A specific person? Finding the majority of people in a certain group? A panel of experts?
     
  5. Aperture thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #5
    See I get what you are saying but...

    If people expect the costs to rise, it can be proven. If Tom says they will rise, I can prove that Tom is expecting them to rise. My point is that whether Tom is right or wrong in saying that.. is another story.

    I would prove that expectation by asking whoever expected it. I do see your point though.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    I guess you could argue (devil's advocate...I initially agreed with your point) that a single latent construct such as "expected to" may not exist. That is, when you say, "The tuition rates are expected to rise," you could operationalize that as "I think the tuition rate will be a larger number of 2007 dollars in 2008 than it is now," and find that 75 out of 100 people agree with you. You could alternatively operationalize it as "I think the tuition in 2015 will be a larger dollar figure than it is today." It's feasible that some of the people who agreed with the first statement disagree with the second statement. So how can you draw the conclusion that the original, "The tuition rates are expected to rise," statement is or is not a fact? It depends on how you ask.

    This is a limb-about-to-break, but arguably a measurement of attitude, is more ephemeral and contextually bound than other kinds of observables. And so, even though you can measure it, you can not do it with the degree of certainty with which you measure, say, a length or height. Since you cannot measure it in a robust, reliable, repeatable, and agreed upon way, unless it is extremely carefully operationally defined, perhaps one could argue that it is not a fact.
     
  7. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #7
    I'd say this is opinion. The statement itself is speculation, not provable fact. An expectation is not a fact. Just because you expect something to happen, doesn't mean it's going to happen.
     
  8. WillJS macrumors 65816

    WillJS

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    #8
    I think it's opinion. Although I can see why you put that. I can't really explain better than anyone else here why I think it is that though.

    If I was a teacher, I'd've (is this the correct contraction form of I would have?) given it to you.
     
  9. gavd macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I've done tests like this at work and in the tests I've done, you have to just read the statement itself without applying any outside knowledge. Therefore, the statement is opinion as there is nothing within the statement itself to enable you to prove it's a fact.

    That's my understanding of how these kind of tests work anyway.
     
  10. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #10
    "expected" is definitely an opinion. It might be a commonly held opinion, or even one based on well informed opinion, but it's still "opinion". All sorts of things that are "expected" to happen, never happen....just ask Bush if what all of his experts "expected" to happen in Iraq turned out to be "fact" or "opinion"
     
  11. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

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    #11
    I think it's a little cloudier that than. While an expectation doesn't equal a factual future occurrence, you could argue that asking "Fact or Opinion" isn't evaluating the truth of the expectation itself, but the truth of the existence of the expectation. As phrased, as long as one person holds the expectation that tuitions will rise, it's a factual statement. A factual statement that an opinion exists, but still a factual statement.
     
  12. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #12
    You're splitting hairs here. Yes, the statement exists, but it is not necessarily true. Speculation is speculation no matter how you wish to view it.
     
  13. mariahlullaby macrumors 6502a

    mariahlullaby

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    #13
    I think it is a FACT that tuition is EXPECTED to rise. It may be an opinion of some sort in context to whether or not the tuition actually rises, but it is a fact nonetheless that at one time, the expectation was that they would rise.
     
  14. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

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    #14
    But you can argue that the speculation element isn't the important part of this statement. Here is an example:

    "George W. Bush is the president" (Fact)

    "George W. Bush is the worst president" (Opinion)

    "It is thought that George W. Bush is the worst president." (Fact, as long as the linked opinion is held by one person...actually in this case, only the concept/though of the opinion has to exist, not be held as true/false).

    Or in wording more similar to the original question:
    "George W. Bush is believed to be the worst president."( again Fact, as long as the linked opinion is held by one person).
     
  15. irmongoose macrumors 68030

    irmongoose

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    #15
    The problem is that you are evaluating the statement itself, while your teacher is evaluating what the statement is about. It is a fact that one is expecting something, but that expectation is nothing more than a subjective view, and therefore cannot be taken as a fact.



    irmongoose
     
  16. Aperture thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #16
    This is exactly as I feel, a fact about an opinion.
     
  17. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

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  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    We KNOW the price of tuition isn't going to stay static. The tuition feels may rise, or maybe they'll fall before they rise, but it will definitely change at some point, and one of these changes will be a rise.


    However, judging by what the requirements of a "fact" are in your class, "Tuition is expected to rise" is an opinion."

    If the statement was "Aperture believes the tuition price will rise", then I sort of agree with you ---- that's a fact if you really believe that to be true.
     
  19. jsalzer macrumors 6502a

    jsalzer

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    #19
    Logic

    This is the way you want to say it to your teacher. As someone who's spent a lot of time studying logic and teaching critical thinking, I also would have operated under the impression that your teacher wanted you to evaluate the statement itself. Especially when the instructions fall along the lines of "determine if the following statement is fact or opinion." You had it right.

    Unfortunately, your teacher seems to be one of many people who reads or interprets something one way and then can't possibly open his mind to reading or interpreting it another way.

    I've had similar problems with statistics word problems. You'd be amazed how many are written where a subtle change in the inflection of one word changes what you're looking for (and, therefore, the answer.) You can repeat it a thousand times to some instructors, with the change in inflection, and yet they still only see the one way they originally interpreted it.

    Try irmongoose's explanation, but if he doesn't bite, drop it. One grade isn't worth ticking off the teacher. :) Good luck!
     
  20. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

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    #20
    I'd have said opinion, but I wouldn't have liked to have had to answer that one - very confusing. Still, it sounds like you did very well!
     
  21. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    #21
    maybe you should have a poll for this.

    in this case, it is a fact that it is someones opinion that the rates will rise.

    someone (with authority supposedly) expects them to rise, so it is his/her opinion that they will rise. but it is a fact that they expect them to rise.

    it depends on what perspective you take it at (fact)
    i believe it depends on what perspective you take it at (opinion) :p
     
  22. Excursions macrumors member

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    #22
    This is a tough statement to evaluate but I would have to say it is opinion. While it may be someone's expectation that tuition will rise, there is no evidence of that in the statement. There is no way to prove, based solely on that statement, that someone expects tuition to rise.
     
  23. noaccess macrumors 6502

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    #23
    You have to evaluate the entire statement.
    I'll have to agree with some of the members (Aperture included); in itself, I think it's a fact about an opinion. But a fact nonetheless, that can be proved by having a poll, for example.
    In this case, you don't really know what group expects the tuition amount to rise, but if you knew what the group of people was, asked a substantial amount of them what their opinion was, if they do expect [...] or not, and the majority answered yes, then the statement would be proved right. So there are ways to prove this statement, and that's what makes it a fact.

    Maybe the statement is a generalization, but these statements are typically made when most people in a group agree to something, they don't all have to.
     
  24. gavd macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    The statement could be proved to be fact, but as myself and Excursions pointed out, from just taking the statement with no other external influence it can't be said that the statement is fact. That's how I believe the test was supposed to work. You're supposed to say fact or opinion based on just the statement in front of you.
     
  25. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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    #25
    Not even hard, it's an opinion. But I guess you could say it is fact, but it is obvious that they wanted you to think it is a opinion rather than looking it in the perspective that it is a fact that the guy expects tuition to rise.
     

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