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The New Pope and 'Relativism'  

post #1 of 193
Thread Starter 
Just been reading this article about how the new Pope decries what he describes as 'Relativism'.

Here's some snippets so we know what he's talking about:

Quote:
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.

There's more but that's enough for a discussion. The thinking and aware observer will quickly see that the term 'relativism' has been coined to downgrade something - to demonise it in fact and indeed, that is implicit (and imo the main purpose) in the article itself.

We can tell this because of the immediate linking with the word 'liberals' which is a catch-all category used only by the people who imagine themselves the opposite of what they think liberal means.

But that is not the worst of it: the position described (and shown in a bad light AND in a manner which is termed to suggest there can be no doubt about this) is essentially the position of any sane thinking person.

Every logical thinker knows that one man's meat is another man's poison but here it is presented as being an established heterodox concept. This is not only disingenuous, it is a lie.

But I'm more interested in who is lying and what is the agenda. So far we have Howard on the anti-relativism bandwagon - he is hardly worthy of comment except to note that he is an extreme right wing xenophobe and a hypocrite to boot as he himself was an immigrant. Now we have the Pope - a surprising choice because of his age and that implies he had something else going for him theologically (in their own terms obviously - not being a relativist myself I can understand this and still condemn it) - that thing is the anti-realtivism meme.

This is nothing new, it is the foundation of all fascism and fundamentalist extremism and we're not only sleepwalking into it (we did that for the last four years) now we're actually celebrating it.

Bad moon rising......
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #2 of 193
I know what you're saying and it also disturbs me greatly as a trend.

It is certainly a lie for any human to say they do not have a relativistic viewpoint; it's impossible not to.

But the convenience in the lie is that it allows those who perpetuate the lie to have an enemy and a group of allies; it allows those who believe the lie to feel morally superior. This is extremely dangerous.
proud resident of a failed state
proud resident of a failed state
post #3 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
I know what you're saying and it also disturbs me greatly as a trend.

It is certainly a lie for any human to say they do not have a relativistic viewpoint; it's impossible not to.

But the convenience in the lie is that it allows those who perpetuate the lie to have an enemy and a group of allies; it allows those who believe the lie to feel morally superior. This is extremely dangerous.

Yes, It is worrying. I don't want to bring up any historical analogies but as a culture we are always saying we must learn from the past - when are we actually going to start ?

Sometimes it seems like we have not progressed at all - or maybe we are regressing quickly.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #4 of 193
I think the last pope wrote an encyclical on the subject.
post #5 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by ShawnJ
I think the last pope wrote an encyclical on the subject.

But it doesn't make any sense. That's the problem. It's a philosophical blind alley.

Philosophically there [i]may[/b] be an absolute but the Church has failed to prove they are it (as has everyone else who's tried) and the evidence is overwhelming that they are not.

They cannot claim primacy as there are other worthy and potentially valid systems preceding them. They derive their existence largely from one of these.

They cannot claim uniqueness as they borrowed extensively from other traditions.

They cannot base it on anything but an absolute belief they are right and consequently that others are wrong. That's bigotry.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #6 of 193
Can I say that I am 'relatively' disappointed we didn't get a black pope?
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
post #7 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Not Unlike Myself
Can I say that I am 'relatively' disappointed we didn't get a black pope?

Yes - but only because that is reducing things to black and white terms.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #8 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
The thinking and aware observer will quickly see that the term 'relativism' has been coined to downgrade something - to demonise it in fact and indeed, that is implicit (and imo the main purpose) in the article itself.

You seem to suggest that the term "relativism" is some new word that has been "coined" for the purposes you suggest. In fact this term has been around for soem time and has a clear and distinct definition:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=relativism

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
But that is not the worst of it: the position described (and shown in a bad light AND in a manner which is termed to suggest there can be no doubt about this) is essentially the position of any sane thinking person.

First, this is common from peopl coming from all angles. In fact, in a discussion we had not too long ago on this topic, many holding a relativist position seemed to be suggesting that relativism "is essentially the position of any sane thinking person". So I don't really see your point here.

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Every logical thinker knows that one man's meat is another man's poison but here it is presented as being an established heterodox concept.

You just made my point. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
This is not only disingenuous, it is a lie.

Well, if we define the scope of the discussion to be moral actions and behavior, that I would say that the relativist position is the disigenuos position...and a lie too.

If we are discussing personal "tastes" about life ("I'm little bit country...you're a little bit rock and roll") then your argument has more merit.
post #9 of 193
segovious, when I get caught up from my trip, I'm going to come back here and give you a thorough spanking.

(and it's okay if MarcUK watches)

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

post #10 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by Not Unlike Myself
Can I say that I am 'relatively' disappointed we didn't get a black pope?

Black but European, right? I mean, African but white would have really set you on fire!
post #11 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
[B]You seem to suggest that the term "relativism" is some new word that has been "coined" for the purposes you suggest. In fact this term has been around for soem time and has a clear and distinct definition:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=relativism

Has it actually been around for all that long? The OED says it dates from 1865, which really isn't long at all. Additionally, the word seems to have typically been used negatively.

Quote:
a. The doctrine that knowledge is only of relations. Also, a name given to theories or doctrines that truth, morality, etc., are relative to situations and are not absolute.

1865 J. GROTE Exploratio Philosophica I. xi. 229 The notion of the mask over the face of nature is exactly that which I am sure Dr Whewell does not wish to fall into--it is what I have called relativism. If the face of nature is reality, then the mask over it, which is what theory gives us, is so much deception, and that is what relativism really comes to. 1885 SETH Scot. Philos. 183 Hegel alone of all metaphysicians lifts us completely clear of Relativism. 1892 Athenæum 20 Aug. 247/1 Many will be pleased with the attack on thoroughgoing relativism. [1934 C. MORRIS in G. H. Mead Mind, Self & Society p. xix, Philosophically the position is here an objective relativism: qualities of the object may yet be relative to a conditioning organism. 1941 H. MARCUSE Reason & Revolution II. ii. 353 According to Comte, relativism is inseparable from the conception that sociology is an exact science dealing with the invariant laws of social statics and dynamics. 1959 A. BRECHT Polit. Theory v. 172, I do not intend to minimize the extent to which Comte's positivism actually contributed to preparing the ground for modern Scientific Method and Value Relativism. 1976 W. J. STANKIEWICZ Aspects Polit. Theory vii. 135 What is logically excluded is relativism as a methodology: a methodology demands fixity of purpose; a fixed purpose excludes relativism.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
post #12 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by midwinter
Has it actually been around for all that long? The OED says it dates from 1865, which really isn't long at all.

True...but the implication was that this was just now being "coined" as a way to bash someone. I dispute that. It is a word with a clear definition. Does anyone have any dispute or objection to the definition of the word? It is used to describe a particular worldview/philosophy/mindset/way of thinking that DOES exist. The word itself doesn't imply anything negative.

Quote:
Originally posted by midwinter
Additionally, the word seems to have typically been used negatively.

I suppose this may well be. But then what word should we use instead? Is the concern about the word and/or how it is used?

The real bottom line question/issue is whether the concept of relativism is good, bad, evil, wrong, right...or if any of those adjectives apply partly or completely.

In brief "Is relativism a good or bad philosophy?" And, by extension, "Is relativism a practical or impractical philosophy?"
post #13 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
True...but the implication was that this was just now being "coined" as a way to bash someone. I dispute that.

I'd take it up with the OED, which pretty clearly indicates that it was coined in the 1860s as a way of bashing an idea.

Quote:
The real bottom line question/issue is whether the concept of relativism is good, bad, evil, wrong, right...or if any of those adjectives apply partly or completely.

In brief "Is relativism a good or bad philosophy?" And, by extension, "Is relativism a practical or impractical philosophy?" [/B]

I suppose this is just another iteration of the rematch between Plato and the Sophists. Appropriate given the current American government's take on The Republic.

If I might make a request this time around: please don't kick the poets out of the Republic again. We've been trying to get them back in for ages.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
post #14 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
You seem to suggest that the term "relativism" is some new word that has been "coined" for the purposes you suggest. In fact this term has been around for soem time and has a clear and distinct definition:

I am suggesting that the context within which it is being pressed into service is a newly developed one: viz, as the antithesis of what wingers obsess most about 'liberalism'.

It was never previously imbued with the meaning, ergo it is new.

Quote:
First, this is common from peopl coming from all angles. In fact, in a discussion we had not too long ago on this topic, many holding a relativist position seemed to be suggesting that relativism "is essentially the position of any sane thinking person". So I don't really see your point here.

I think I made it clear enough.

Quote:
You just made my point. Thanks.

No problems - now try to do it on your own

Quote:
Well, if we define the scope of the discussion to be moral actions and behavior, that I would say that the relativist position is the disigenuos position...and a lie too.

If you are going to casually throw around statements like this then you are going to be asked for evidence. I just point this out for your own benefit - it's not that I expect you to lay out an argument or anything.

The relativist position is merely an open-minded position as opposed to a closed-minded one. As I said above (because I am open minded) the closed position may be right. It's just that in the whole of human history no-one who subscribes to it has ever produced a single iota of evidence.

They prefer to say things like you did above and plug up their ears if anyone bothers to reply.

Quote:
If we are discussing personal "tastes" about life ("I'm little bit country...you're a little bit rock and roll") then your argument has more merit.

We aren't discussing that. we are discussing why some people claim to have a monopoly on truth and why they oppose and deride anyone who thinks differently without basing it on objective evidence. in short, it is the doctrine of "I believe this so it must be true for all people, at all times because I believe it and I consequently have the right to enforce this belief because I have just proved it is true."

Your post is a classic text-book example of it.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #15 of 193
Quote:
Your post is a classic text-book example of it. [/B]

Of petitio principii, indeed.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
post #16 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius

No problems - now try to do it on your own

If you are going to casually throw around statements like this then you are going to be asked for evidence. I just point this out for your own benefit - it's not that I expect you to lay out an argument or anything.

Feeling a snarky today are we.

First, I already tried this discussion not too long ago...trying to argue not that I knew what the absolutes were, but that they do exist as a necessity for society to hold together in any coherent way. There may be only a few (the larger the set, admittedly, the more disagreement you'll get).

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
The relativist position is merely an open-minded position as opposed to a closed-minded one.

Actually it really isn't. It tends to be as close-minded and dogmatic as some (perhaps you) accuse those with an absolutist position of being. It is close-minded about the possibility or probability of anything being absolute and dogmatic about the fact that nothing is.

Now, if you were saying that aboslutes do exist, but that we have not heard from anyone that convincingly tells us what they are (yet)...that is a slightly different debate. It is different than the relativist position that "there are none"...instead being "well, they probably do exist, we just have figured them all out."

In the other thread I repeatedly offered some concrete and clear examples of things that just might be absolutely wrong (rape, incest, lying, stealing, murder, etc.) I generally got pretty weak arguments that boiled down to "well lots of people and cultures have done these thinsg in the past so they must not be absolutely wrong." Pffft.

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Your post is a classic text-book example of it.

And your "I'm open minded" is a "classic text-book example" of the so-called relativist argument/position.
post #17 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Feeling a snarky today are we.

First, I already tried this discussion not too long ago...trying to argue not that I knew what the absolutes were, but that they do exist as a necessity for society to hold together in any coherent way. There may be only a few (the larger the set, admittedly, the more disagreement you'll get).

---snip----

Ok, let me state it more clearly.

1) There may or may not be absolutes.

2) In our present cosmological position in the universe we cannot know this.

3) The things we have been traditionally told are absolutes are demonstrably not.

That is my position in this thread. I am open-minded as I say and if you can provide an example of a moral (that is what we are talking about after all) absolute that cannot be countered by anyone here I will admit I was wrong and agree with your position.

If you cannot, then it means your example is a belief and therefore not an absolute. It may even be right - which I have admitted. My criticism is of people at the opposing end who do not and cannot concede that their opponents may be right.

That is fundamentalism. It is the threat we are facing whether it comes in Islamic or Christian guise or anything else, and we have to do something about it before it does something about us (*by 'us' I mean those of us not subscribing to its tenets).
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #18 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
3) The things we have been traditionally told are absolutes are demonstrably not.

Which one's?

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
if you can provide an example of a moral (that is what we are talking about after all) absolute that cannot be countered by anyone here I will admit I was wrong and agree with your position.

Rape?
Incest?
Stealing?
Lying? Deception? Fraud?
Murder? (and I would define "murder" differently that "killing"...in that there is malicious, non-defesive, unprovoked intent in the action)
Breaking/violating a vow/promise/covenant?
post #19 of 193
Didn't we have this conversation already?
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
post #20 of 193
Obviously you have to use words to lay out your ideas on moral absolutes, and therein lies the trick; what is the real, practical definition of those words and are they actually absolute?

Today, if a woman was forced to marry a man of her father's choosing and have sex with him that night, we'd call it rape.
Times existed when not only was that acceptable, it was the custom.

Today, if we married our sister and had babies we'd be immoral freaks.
But who did Cain & Abel have sex with to make their babies?

What is stealing? What qualifies?
let's look at the appropriate definitions:
to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as an habitual or regular practice
or
to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully

Note some key words:
"wrongfully"
"without right"

What determines those? If a king ordered a serf to give over his horse is that stealing? By the law it would be "right", no?
The second says "without right or leave". The king might have the right, but would he necessarily have the serf's leave to take the horse?
Not necessarily.

Lying/Deception/Fraud. Again, what does that mean?
Does anyone believe that one should never lie or deceive? Of course not.
What if your ugly daughter comes up to you and asks, "Dad, am I physically unattractive in the accepted social view?"

Quote:
Murder? (and I would define "murder" differently that "killing"...in that there is malicious, non-defesive, unprovoked intent in the action)

War?

Quote:
Breaking/violating a vow/promise/covenant?

This is just about as close to an absolute as I can come up with, actually. But in the end it fits in the same category as lying/deception/defrauding.

If someone promises to murder someone else, is it immoral to break that promise?
proud resident of a failed state
proud resident of a failed state
post #21 of 193
Morality is way over rated.
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
post #22 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Which one's?

Rape?
Incest?
Stealing?
Lying? Deception? Fraud?
Murder? (and I would define "murder" differently that "killing"...in that there is malicious, non-defesive, unprovoked intent in the action)
Breaking/violating a vow/promise/covenant?

Ok, one at a time:

Rape: from the Bible (my bolds):

Quote:
Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished.

Zechariah 14:1-2

Quote:
They must be dividing the spoils they took: there must be a damsel or two for each man, Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera's spoil, an ornate shawl or two for me in the spoil.

Judges 5:30

Quote:
As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

Deuteronomy 20:10-14

That last one condones murder as well as rape. Even from a non-Biblical perspective there have been many societies that regard rape as a fringe benefit of victory over a conquered people. It is not therefore an absolute.

Incest: The Pharoanic Egyptians not only believed and practiced incest but believed it a sacred duty. there are several other societies that held equivalent beliefs and the Classical Greek myths likewise do not hold the subject as a taboo. Nor do many 'primitive' tribes. I will resist the temptation to ask where Cain got his wife. This is also not an absolute.

Stealing: as Proudhon said, property is theft. Boiled down this means that the definition is in question: Bush could be in some views stealing Iraqi oil for example though some would approve. Saddam stole the people's wealth - though he and his cohorts approved. Intelligence agencies steal info all the time - this is expected and approved of. Even, I suspect, by you. This is also not an absolute.

Lying? Deception? Fraud?: again, we're with definitions. Governments have lied and then gone on to lie about lying. This is approved of. People are lauded as heroes if they lie to 'save their country' or 'mislead the enemy'. Even to save one's life it is generally regarded as permissable. Similarly with deception and fraud - it is rampant throughout the world as we speak and the countries engaged in it are in many cases regarded as 'honest', 'civilized' and 'God -fearing'. This is not an absolute either.

Murder: see OT passages above and God's conduct to his 'enemies' elsewhere in that book. Also look at murder under other names - war for example. If you prefer a civilization based on murder then perhaps try the Aztecs though there are many others based on ritual human sacrifice.

Breaking promises/vows: there are many societies where this is permissable if one's life is in danger. That's all it takes to be not an absolute - one get out clause, just one.

And I haven't even started on the metaphysical ramifications - for example how if I kill some old granny with an axe, that could possibly transgress an absolute in terms of a planet that is billions of years old but which itself is only a nanosecond in the galaxy, itself an atom in an atom in an atom of a split-second of the universe's existence. A universe which may well be an atom of something else....and on and on....

That's what you're dealing with when you talk of absolutes - as said, there probably are some, almost certainly are, but we aren't in a position to know what they are - nor does it matter to us.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #23 of 193
So..much more succinctly...you are saying:

Since some people do (or have done) X, X cannot be wrong. Where "X" is some behavior.

Right?
post #24 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Since some people do (or have done) X, X cannot be wrong. Where "X" is some behavior.

No, because by saying "X cannot be wrong" the speaker assumes that "wrong" is a valid, absolute category.
proud resident of a failed state
proud resident of a failed state
post #25 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
So..much more succinctly...you are saying:

Since some people do (or have done) X, X cannot be wrong. Where "X" is some behavior.

Right?

No.

I am saying that what you believe is wrong and claim has always been regarded as such has often not been viewed in that way by people of different epochs and cultures.

Just because you want to disregard history and their opinions and beliefs (or merely downgrade them as subsets of your own) does not make it the case.

Why is it not enough for you to say 'I believe X is wrong although others may not' ? Why do you feel the need to justify your belief by elevating it to a universal immutable truth ?
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #26 of 193
Beat you twice.
proud resident of a failed state
proud resident of a failed state
post #27 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Just because you want to disregard history and their opinions and beliefs (or merely downgrade them as subsets of your own) does not make it the case.

I am not disregarding history.

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Why is it not enough for you to say 'I believe X is wrong although others may not' ?

So...how do we deal with a case like this:

1) segovius believes that it is wrong for another person to take something that belongs to him.

2) Chris believes that it is okay to take anything he wants, from whomever he wants, especially segovius (just funnin' with you on that part).

segovius and Chris meet up.

What happens next?
post #28 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
The real bottom line question/issue is whether the concept of relativism is good, bad, evil, wrong, right...or if any of those adjectives apply partly or completely.

It's so ironic how that is unanswerable due to relativism itself.
"The Roots of Violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics...
"The Roots of Violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics...
post #29 of 193
Relativism isn't just about the invidividual, it's more about the society that individuals have built for themselves (and are always rebuilding (slowly)).

So your analogy would depend on the society you and seg find yourselves in.
proud resident of a failed state
proud resident of a failed state
post #30 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
I am not disregarding history.

So...how do we deal with a case like this:

1) segovius believes that it is wrong for another person to take something that belongs to him.

2) Chris believes that it is okay to take anything he wants, from whomever he wants, especially segovius (just funnin' with you on that part).

segovius and Chris meet up.

What happens next?

I run and hide or call Groverat

Whatever happened, if it was detrimental to myself I would see it as 'wrong' if it was 'wrong' but within the context of our meeting - ie the time, place, society, our upbringing etc.

Just because something bad happened to me doesn't mean I would see it as a universal wrong or an absolute. No way.

This is actually what I was initially getting at - we wandered off-topic and are now back full-circle: the worrying thing about this rising tide of 'literalism' (for want of a better word) that the election of this Pope is symptomatic of, is the conflation of personal injustice (or even societal) with an absolute 'faith-based' moral wrong.

It's frightening and dehumanising.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #31 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
Relativism isn't just about the invidividual, it's more about the society that individuals have built for themselves (and are always rebuilding (slowly)).

So your analogy would depend on the society you and seg find yourselves in.

That's three now....
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #32 of 193
It seems evident to me that there is no way that I will ever be "right" in this discussion, so I guess I am relegated to being "absolutely wrong".

( Except that I am probably "absolutely right" about being "absolutely wrong". )

Oh well.

post #33 of 193
It's seems that the new pope bringed the catholic church in a new strange pathway looking like a dead end.

The dogma, granted by his divine nature, is an absolute, and should be considered this way.
Real life is absolutely relative by nature, and absolutes are very, very rare.

I wonder how you can conciliate an absolute the dogma, with relativity aka real life.

I will be interested to see, how the church will deal with this in the future. I stay tuned.
post #34 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
It seems evident to me that there is no way that I will ever be "right" in this discussion, so I guess I am relegated to being "absolutely wrong".

( Except that I am probably "absolutely right" about being "absolutely wrong". )

Oh well.


That's not the case - both you and I are possibly right and possibly wrong. If neither of us starts to believe we are absolutely right then there are no factors getting in the way of our harmonious co-existence.

What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
post #35 of 193
First and foremost, your quote from Deuteronomy DOES NOT condone rape. That was really, really, wierd -- the underlying structure of Biblical Law has no room for an assualt on the family.
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
There's more but that's enough for a discussion. The thinking and aware observer will quickly see that the term 'relativism' has been coined to downgrade something - to demonise it in fact and indeed, that is implicit (and imo the main purpose) in the article itself.

The term relativism is nothing more or less than a essentially the same terms that are used by modern philosophers. Call it Existentialism, Postmodernism, Cubism -- whatever -- there is no other term that adaquetly describes the phonomena of Scientism as it manifests itself in metphysics and ethics.
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius But that is not the worst of it: the position described (and shown in a bad light AND in a manner which is termed to suggest there can be no doubt about this) is essentially the position of any sane thinking person.[/B]

Only 'sane' people who can soley rely on the mind of man to make universal negative statements about what may or may not exist outside the limits of their preception, that is. Sane indeed.
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius Every logical thinker knows that one man's meat is another man's poison but here it is presented as being an established heterodox concept. This is not only disingenuous, it is a lie.[/B]

I think you'll have trouble proving that with an exploded universe and no way of putting it back together.

What you may be chaffing at here more than anything is that a nagging, but legitimate, charge has been leveled that is too close for comfort. You in particular, sergovious, in arguments are too apt to be chased all around in the nieghborhood untill you find yourself in you own yard -- under the porch -- yelling, "Hey I don't know, the universe just is, and I can say it just is on my own authority, and don't ask my why, but I can tell you absolutley that fascism and menstral cramps are caused by absolutism, and oh, by the way, I'm saying that absolutlely.

Of course it's relativism -- but relativism looks different coming out of the oven in Parliment, or Congress than it did going into the mixing bowl in second semester philosophy. It's all about scientism, and it's about scientism projecting power as a philosophy. Depending on what day of the week it is, you can find a materialist, saying anything you want -- and depending on how it is precieved by academia or whether it appears in the DSM -- you'll have your moving target of how the goverment is going to save us all from ourselves.

You relativists/materialists/followers of Scientism kill me.

Now stop it.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

post #36 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
I am not disregarding history.



So...how do we deal with a case like this:

1) segovius believes that it is wrong for another person to take something that belongs to him.

2) Chris believes that it is okay to take anything he wants, from whomever he wants, especially segovius (just funnin' with you on that part).

segovius and Chris meet up.

What happens next?

After beating each other up for many centuries Chris and Segovius discover that despite their different views they have to come to an agreement and start talking to each other and through the power of arguments find solutions.
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
post #37 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
I am not disregarding history.



So...how do we deal with a case like this:

1) segovius believes that it is wrong for another person to take something that belongs to him.

2) Chris believes that it is okay to take anything he wants, from whomever he wants, especially segovius (just funnin' with you on that part).

segovius and Chris meet up.

What happens next?

Chris, before you start positing specific scenarios that you regard as "stumpers", I'd be interested in your response to the preceding critique.

How can a given moral principle be "absolute" if we can identify large groups of people over long stretches of time that did not subscribe to same?

Are you arguing for some kind of perfect Platonic morality that has always existed in potential and has only recently emerged in practice?

Are you saying that what you, personally, now regard as moral absolutes take precedence over what they, then, believed? Are you therefore arguing that we (or at least you) have achieved moral progress over our forbears?

If so, how are you able to discern that this progress has achieved its pinnacle and that no further revisions are likely?
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
post #38 of 193
In many ways our responsibility for sweat shop workers in the third world is the same as slave owners was to their slaves as we share the same economy. Back a few hundred years ago it was not morally wrong to hold slaves (since they did not possess a soul). If we see how the look on slaves, women, children etc. have changed in the last few hundred years I believe that in 100 years from now we will look back and ask how we could defend an economy where some people had no freedom to chose their life paths in any way.
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
post #39 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
First and foremost, your quote from Deuteronomy DOES NOT condone rape. That was really, really, wierd -- the underlying structure of Biblical Law has no room for an assualt on the family.

The term relativism is nothing more or less than a essentially the same terms that are used by modern philosophers. Call it Existentialism, Postmodernism, Cubism -- whatever -- there is no other term that adaquetly describes the phonomena of Scientism as it manifests itself in metphysics and ethics.

Only 'sane' people who can soley rely on the mind of man to make universal negative statements about what may or may not exist outside the limits of their preception, that is. Sane indeed.

I think you'll have trouble proving that with an exploded universe and no way of putting it back together.

What you may be chaffing at here more than anything is that a nagging, but legitimate, charge has been leveled that is too close for comfort. You in particular, sergovious, in arguments are too apt to be chased all around in the nieghborhood untill you find yourself in you own yard -- under the porch -- yelling, "Hey I don't know, the universe just is, and I can say it just is on my own authority, and don't ask my why, but I can tell you absolutley that fascism and menstral cramps are caused by absolutism, and oh, by the way, I'm saying that absolutlely.

Of course it's relativism -- but relativism looks different coming out of the oven in Parliment, or Congress than it did going into the mixing bowl in second semester philosophy. It's all about scientism, and it's about scientism projecting power as a philosophy. Depending on what day of the week it is, you can find a materialist, saying anything you want -- and depending on how it is precieved by academia or whether it appears in the DSM -- you'll have your moving target of how the goverment is going to save us all from ourselves.

You relativists/materialists/followers of Scientism kill me.

Now stop it.

Oh fuck, here we go again. Why don't we just make "the DMZ speech" a sticky and be done with it.

While we're at it, we can add my question, again.

But let's ask it this way: if scientific relativism/postmodernism/faithlessness/whatever is wrong, what is right?

What are you arguing for?

Because, again, for about the 30th time, I don't think it's reasonable to allow you to just leave it at "ya'll are chasing your own tails if you can't accept the primacy of God" because it allows you the luxury of claiming to have found specific shortcomings in the ideas of others while getting to be enormously vague about what your asserting in opposition.

I'n guessing that's because it's much easier, in a discussion on moral relativism vs. absolutism, to argue the latter if you don't have to say what those absolutes are, since once you do you're just another guy with an opinion. Or to whom God speaks directly, which is going to be a tough sell.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
post #40 of 193
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
<snip>

Here Here. I support your line of questioning.
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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