It’s important for students to realize that when they’re composing papers for philosophy courses they’re not just laying down their opinions. Provided they give reasons to support their assertions, their papers are made up of arguments, not opinions. The reasons are what make an assertion more than mere opinion.
This is why it’s unfortunate that the new philosophy series, The Stone, in The New York Times is under the Opinion banner, as Postural Thinking notes in his latest entry. Of course, many of the the pieces in the Opinion page of the newspaper are more than mere opinion. But the newspaper maintains the myth that personal views are nothing more than mere opinion, just as the cable news shows keep viewers believing that there are always two sides to every story and that, furthermore, neither of these sides is better than the other. All opinion is equal. You believe what you believe and I’ll believe what I believe. We’re both right.