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Posted: 10/17/2004 9:00:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2004 9:03:35 AM EDT by GrH_Revelation]
To preface this discussion: I've just finished discussing philosophy with a girl and she is an adamant proponent of relativity.

I understand the, I believe, leftist philosophy of relativity: as long as a plurality of individuals assume a certain stance on an issue, it will become a relative truth until said plurality changes. Then the person that I was talking to stated that she "didn't care" about other peoples ideas and ethics because they were their own. I find both relative truths and an apathy to other's opinions abhorent. On the subject of relative truths, I believe that there are absolute and perfect truths/doctrine that are held as universal ideals created by a supreme entity, God. I believe that these "Absolute Truths", taken as a whole, present a perfect and entire doctrine that, if they were able to be followed, would result in the moral righteousness of the individual. However, I assert, as did Plato, that these Absolute Truths are not clearly evident to man, that we simply mimick these truths much like "shadow images on a cave wall". I believe that our conscience, unlike many "Mental Environmentalists", although subject to influence by its surroundings, is embedded with a sense of "ethical correctness" that we know to be true. I think that the "peace of mind" or "moral obligation" of an individual is fulfilled not by that person's ability to be absolutely moral all the time, but in the effort put forth by that individual to emulate these imperfect Relative Truths formed by being copies of Absolute Truths.

On the subject of apathy towards others opinion. I understand that it is the right of every individual to hold their own opinion. However, I believe that the most powerful force that an individual has is persusasion. Persuasion, regardless of its form, although I believe persuasion without violence is most effective unlike Machiavelli, is the ability to make one's world more amiable and lovely to ones self. I do not contest that everyone should be able to hold their own opinions, however, I believe that it is my right to persuade others to hold ideas congruent with mine and my constituents because my world is then made more amiable. This is analogous to segregation in the 40s, note that I do not believe in segregation. Segregration allowed whites, and I believe blacks, to live more at ease in with individual's of their own race because they felt more comfortable and natural. It is the same with similiar ideologies. Why not try and persuade your enemies to be your friends rather than fight them? This is not a correlation, however, to the war on terrorism which I believe is a wholly justified war. I think this is much like a police officer relating to teenage and maleable individuals that they shouldn't commit acts that are violent or risky to police officers because police officers are the individuals that protect them from murders, thieves, etc.

Flame on.

"An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot... it will march on the horizon of the world, and it will conquer." - Thomas Paine
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:02:22 AM EDT
Sure looks like alot of doublespeak to me.

Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:03:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Sure looks like alot of doublespeak to me.


Could you be more specific?
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:06:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GrH_Revelation:

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Sure looks like alot of doublespeak to me.


Could you be more specific?

I can sum up your 2 paragraphs in one sentance: Live and let live.

But I didn't study philosophy.........

Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:07:39 AM EDT
Nor have I... although, where do you draw the line when someone else's ideals begin to forcefully impact, rather than persuade, your liberties and lifestyle?
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:09:40 AM EDT
I don't understand the use of the word "relativity" in there. Are you talking about moral relativism, or are you talking about cultural norms, or are you talking about socially constructed reality? (the only "relativity" I'm aware of is the physics version).

It could just be that I'm stupid - because I didn't really get the point of much of what you were saying.

Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:10:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GrH_Revelation:
Nor have I... although, where do you draw the line when someone else's ideals begin to forcefully impact, rather than persuade, your liberties and lifestyle?

When they start to bug me then they are no longer just letting me live.

So I punch them

Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:14:20 AM EDT
Maybe I used "relativity" a little too vaguely: Moral Relativity and Culturally constructed reality
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:19:16 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:22:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GrH_Revelation:
Maybe I used "relativity" a little too vaguely: Moral Relativity and Culturally constructed reality

got it - that's what I thought you meant.

I think it's important to accept that almost everything in our society IS socially constructed - but I don't think that necessarily implies that we must accept moral relativism. Today, we generally all agree that pedophelia is wrong, yet in Plato's day it was not necessarily considered particularly immoral or unusual - so "morals" certainly do change over time, as they become more or less socially acceptable. However, ONCE we do have a consensus that something is "wrong" - we can either choose to be morally relativistic about it, or we can be firm and uncompromising in our attitude towards right and wrong.

Whether those are converging towards (or away from) some fixed absolute truth(s) is a much tougher question, and is ulitmatley one that IMO boils down to individual BELIEF.

I find that reading philosophy is one of the most fascinating and fulfilling pasttimes, as well as reading other literatures (like psychology) that really try to understand how the human brain actually functions and processes things. I don't believe that it's possible to really understand ourselves without reading both - either without the other paints an incomplete picture.
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:25:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DigDug:
"as long as a plurality of individuals assume a certain stance on an issue, it will become a relative truth until said plurality changes"

You believe in stealing other peoples works from the internet because everyone else is doing it and the chances of you getting caught are nearly zero. The people who you are stealing from are rich and don't need the money, blah, blah, blah. You are lying to yourself. You do not believe in what you profess in your post.

Excellent example of moral relativism at work, and how it is distinct from whether morals are socailly constructed or not. The issue of property right (versus communal property) is a socially constructed one - usually driven by a certian population density, and so the idea that stealing is "wrong" is something that is socially driven. However, that doesn't mean that we have to accept moral relativism - we can fimrly believe that stealing is wrong under all circumstances, and refuse the trite rationalisations that people engage in when they download MP3s from Kazaa or don't pay at the toll both because the arm is broken.
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:27:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2004 9:28:55 AM EDT by GrH_Revelation]
I was arguing that point as a Devil's Advocate... I could care less about pirated software.. I just wanted to piss Digdug off
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:29:50 AM EDT
See? This is what happens when educated people try to explain a simple concept.

It's turns in paragraph after paragraph of philosophy bable...

Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:33:27 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 9:38:16 AM EDT
i just woke up, but ill try to remember .

relativism says there are no brute facts, only facts true relative to something. The problem is that "there are no brute facts..." is a brute fact. it is more complex than that, but you can throw her in a loop with it. they cant make an argument without a brute fact.
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 10:26:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2004 10:42:25 AM EDT by the]
Relativism is the notion that absolute "truth" is not knowable by man AND that there is no legitimacy (read often as political legitimacy) in believing there is a point to trying. It has been increasingly used to attack the idea of fact.

Something important to recognize is that the use of relativism by leftists is entirely tactical. It's only to destroy what currently exists. Don't conflate it with leftist doctrine. Any system (communism, socialism, western liberalism) has at its root a recognition that there's utility in believing in a set of truths on which to build a social order - (be it 'profit is waste' or 'unalienable rights'). Relativism rejects that utility. In that, communists are no more relativist than consutionalists.

Leftists increasingly employ (cultural) relativism because they have already lost most arguments on the evidence. Their use of relativism is temporary, simply to trick people into invalidating existing rules without regard to proven utility. It is used it to make people disbelieve facts before their very eyes, and to doubt the legitimacy of the very things that they rely on, or benefit from. Worse yet, to disregard how those ideas have benefitted others.

Read Chomsky for numerous examples of this tactic. It's ingenious, because it lets the left launch attacks on the tangible benefits of Western Civilization not with their alternative proposals, which are easily discredited - but rather from a philosophical proxy that by definition resides outside the realm of evidence.

But relativism is not truly compatible with leftist doctrine, nor any other. It can't be. You cannot create a set of rules including a premise that no rule or practice is any more or less valid than any other.
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 10:41:05 AM EDT
In the United States in the 21st Century, individual "truths" are not the guide for our actions...LAWS are...JMHO...
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