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Thread: Truth

  1. #1
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Truth

    After reading this article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4460673.stm) :

    What is relativism?

    Shortly before he was elected pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger delivered a withering denunciation of relativism. For those unfamiliar with even the blunter points of philosophy, what was he driving at?
    Moral relativism is the idea that moral principles have no objective standard, so states its dictionary definition.

    In its extreme, the view that there are no hard and fast rules on what is right and wrong, on which values are set and should be fought for.

    It is in contrast to absolutism, that there is one truth.

    One man's meat...

    Relativism is "Different opinions, no one authority, and as many 'truths' as there are people or societies or cultures advancing different ways of doing things," says Simon Blackburn, Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University.

    It is easy, he says, "to give relativism a slogan: Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. One man's meat is another man's poison." And when that is applied to ethics, then goodness, virtue and duty also lie in the eye of the beholder.

    So, for the western liberal, living under western liberal influences, with western liberal opinions, he says, contraception and abortion are in, but for the Catholic Church, they are out.

    In his sermon ahead of the conclave to choose a new Pope, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger warned of the need to preserve the Church's traditional Catholic tenets against modern trends, against the "dictatorship of relativism".

    Moral standards, Catholic conservatives believe, should be perfect and unchanging.

    At the same time, relativism was being attacked in the British general election campaign. Under it, said Michael Howard, leader of the Conservative Party, traditional British values are "being trashed" as "the victims have become the aggressors and the aggressors have become the victims"

    Plato's problem

    On education, much is made of a lack of discipline in schools at a time when parents can challenge the teachers who used to be a figure of absolute authority.

    The arguments' theme is not new. Two and a half thousand years ago, Professor Blackburn points out, Plato opposed relativism in his Dialogues when he sought "one true opinion, real knowledge, real authority" and wanted to establish the error of other opinions.

    In the Reformation, Martin Luther argued authority came from each believer, from the bottom up, not from the top down, as Church heads would have it.

    As Julian Baggini, editor of The Philosopher's Magazine, highlights, relativism grew under "early globalisation" when explorers discovered other cultures had different standards and morals, a catalyst to reconsider their own.

    In the late 20th Century, postmodernism had academics arguing that there is no one truth, just many interpretations. And in politics, some cast the impeachment of President Clinton as an absolutist attempt to establish right over wrong.

    Crude picture

    But philosophers warn against painting a crude black and white contrast between one absolute truth and the rest - bagging together all "relativists".

    "The problem is that it's not just a contrast to absolutism," says Baggini.

    Relativism, he says, gets "a bad name" from opponents like the church who cast it only as "an anything goes" approach to moral questions. The reality has a much more diverse set of views, he says.

    That bad name, he believes, is "perhaps the biggest example of philosophical illiteracy".
    I have been wondering whether the truth is 'in the eye of the beholder' or there is one unchanging universal truth...

    Any thoughts?
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  2. #2
    Moral relativism does get a bad name, but it is, for better or worse, the way things are, and the only way they can be, in a world of myriad reality tunnels. At work now, so no time to elaborate! Will talk later!

  3. #3
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    I know of no universal truth. I know of no method of determining universal truth. And as for absolute truth.....
    Faith is believing what you know ain't so - Mark Twain

    The preachers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves - Henry David Thoreau

    The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason - Benjamin Franklin

    The teaching of the church, theoretically astute, is a lie in practice and a compound of vulgar superstitions and sorcery - Leo Tolstoy

  4. #4
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atiguhya padma
    And as for absolute truth.....
    *holds her breath*

    Yes??????

    I mentioned 'universal' truth because, going along with the example of the Church in the article, there are Christians all around the world;they all come from different cultural/social backgrounds but they all believe in the same thing regardless: Church's teachings...
    Last edited by Scheherazade; 04-27-2005 at 06:23 AM.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  5. #5
    I'm too tired to wax lyrical, but I'll say a liddle bit for now! You can guess from my tag line that I am a big subjectivity fan! Perhaps there are some morals that we would wish were absolute, but 'Needs must when the devil vomits in your lunch box'. The Ik tribe (foe an account of this tribe read 'The Mountain People' by Colin Turnbull), have a moral system that we would consider abhorrent. They rae quite casual about the horrendous deaths of close relatives and will steal food from the sick and elderly. They also live in one of the worlds most inhospitable habitats. Impeccable morals are probably the preserve of the privileged. As I say though, catma not dogma. Please argue against this!

  6. #6
    Johnny One Shot Basil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandini
    As I say though, catma not dogma. Please argue against this!
    I'd like to take your catma, tie it in a sackma, and throw it in the lakema.

  7. #7
    Very droll!

  8. #8
    Ooh! That got my heart beating.

  9. #9
    ...............
    Last edited by Scheherazade; 04-27-2005 at 04:12 PM.

  10. #10
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandini
    Impeccable morals are probably the preserve of the privileged.
    Are you suggesting that people who live in less favorable conditions lack morals?
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  11. #11
    precious... subterranean's Avatar
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    Is it the same with right or wrong?

    I mentioned 'universal' truth because, going along with the example of the Church in the article, there are Christians all around the world;they all come from different cultural/social backgrounds but they all believe in the same thing regardless: Church's teachings...
    I suppose that's more appropriate to be called Christians' universal truth..
    I work in a multinational company with offices in almost 100 countries..different nations, languages, local policies, etc...BUT, same vision, mission, goal, and basic principals. I suppose we have our own universal "truth"
    Last edited by subterranean; 04-27-2005 at 07:55 PM.


    "there are people in the world so hungry that God can not appear to them except in the form of bread"

    Mahatma Gandhi

  12. #12
    dancing before the storms baddad's Avatar
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    Okay.........Imho........Any 'universal truths' (a damn vague term:metaphysical? concrete? Moral/Ethical? Climatological?) that may exist must be innate to all human beings in order to represent what they claim. Now morality is a judgement call, and so any moral dictate is no more an innate part of being human than is the ability to fly by flapping our arms. Morals, ethics, are dictates (belief based, whether political, religious, etc.), whether from within or without ourselves. If the Roman Catholic church decides to attack philosophies that disagree with its' own approach to life....well.... it is only continuing its' milleniums old approach to control of the masses. The reality that there is more than a single reality seems to escape (purposefully) fundamentalists no matter what their stripe...........

  13. #13
    King of Plastic Spoons imthefoolonthehill's Avatar
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    there are no universal truths, truth comes from the eye of the beholder. We all make our own truth. in fact, i it is now true that you are all pussycats. I say so. Its true for me.

    In fact, you are also all serial killers...and you walk upside down inside the subway tunnels.

    2+2=22 ...or 12, or 443, or 4342

    reality must conflict with itself, because of, like, dude, myriad reality tunnels.



    don't mock me, i'm enlightened.
    Told by a fool, signifying nothing.

  14. #14
    King of Plastic Spoons imthefoolonthehill's Avatar
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    universal truths:

    A is A

    reality does not conflict with itself

    when you see a contradiction, check your premises... one will be incorrect.
    Told by a fool, signifying nothing.

  15. #15
    King of Plastic Spoons imthefoolonthehill's Avatar
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    therefore, any truth is a universal truth, or it is opinion. there is no such thing as truth that is not truth for everyone.

    if there is, it is being too vague, such as saying "the statement 'i'm wearing a blue shirt' is true for me, not for you"

    this doesn't prove relativism, it merely shows the absurdity.

    The person the statement is refering to either is or is not wearing a blue shirt. this is true for everyone, blind, colorblind, or crosseyed.

    even if they speak a different language, and call blue by another name, it is still true for them. If its true, it is universally true.

    Nothing can be true for me but untrue for you.
    Told by a fool, signifying nothing.

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