I think there is a class of beliefs that are not only not well justified, but which the believer is aware are not well justified. The beliefs I have in mind are called opinions, although I don’t mean to say that all opinions are in the class of beliefs I’m talking about. My conjecture is that we say things like “That’s just my opinion” to call attention to the fact that a belief of ours is in this category. We do not want to be held socially responsible for it. To say it’s just an opinion is to alert the hearer not to take it as a piece of information and not to expect me to justify it the way I would other beliefs. That gets me off the hook up to a point, but only up to a point.
My question is this. Why isn’t it wrong to have opinions? I assume one shouldn’t have unjustified beliefs, certainly not beliefs whose lack of justification is something about which I myself am aware. So why should I have any opinions at all? We do routinely say that people have a right to their opinions, but that might mean they have a political right– a right to non-interference. It doesn’t follow from that that they are RIGHT to have these opinions.
Are we morally or epistemically wrong to have opinions of the kind I describe?