How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 Absolute Truth - Relativism
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Absolute Truth - Relativism

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
fractal007
Member Elite
since 06-01-2000
Posts 2032


0 posted 03-20-2001 02:34 AM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

Hey all. I was just reading about relativism. I read that it is a contradiction in itself. "The absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth." Is there a way of defending this? I'm just curious, lol.

I agree with the contradiction bit, but I'd be interested in hearing other ideas too.

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


1 posted 03-20-2001 10:22 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

A brief anecdote ... while living in California, I had a conversation with a window installer who vehemently argued, "There are no absolute truths". I asked him, "Are you sure?" He replied, "Yes." I then asked, "Are you absolutely sure?" He didn't answer and, since then, I have never been able to find another relativist as gullible as he was.

I think it is fair to say that mankind is incapable of ascertaining absolute truth on his own. Absolute truth, by its very nature, must be reveled (rather than discovered). We can test a claim of absolute truth using our any number of tests (scientific method, legal-historical reasoning, logic, etc.) and determine whether it is reasonable to believe the claim was revelatory, but I don't believe we can know with absolute certainty that an absolute truth claim is absolutely credible. We can know with reasonable certainty that an absolute claim is revelatory and, accordingly, reasonably believe that the absolute claim is absolutely true. But I believe "reasonable certainty" marks the limits of our human comprehension.

While I don't think it is possible to know with absolute certainty that absolute truths exist, making a statement such as "There is no absolute truth" is simply irresponsible. It is one thing to say "There is no gold in my hand". It is another thing entirely to say "There is no gold in Alaska". Universal negatives are not something I would like to try to prove logically (in fact, I don't think it can be done). An agnostic position is much more honest, in my opinion.

On another hand, making the claim that there are absolute truths prompts a couple of questions. What truths are you suggesting to be absolute? What are the origins of those respective truths? Can the veracity of the events surrounding the revelation of these truths be subjected to testing? Are those "truths" consistent with one another? What is the appropriate manner of responding to those absolute truths?

Not an easy question. No easy answers.

Jim
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


2 posted 03-21-2001 12:32 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I think I agree with the statement that Jim made...that I wouldn't want to have to prove universal negatives logically. In my estimation it is impossible to prove that absolute truth does not exist. The very second you've done it (or think you've done it), you have appealed to an absolute standard of judgement. . . proving if nothing else the opposite of your assertion.

I quoted the following in one of Brad's earlier posts, but I think it is a powerful statement worthy of another look.




"A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound- a proof that there are no such things as proofs- which is nonsense.

-C.S. Lewis "Miracles"



I know the above quote was referring to the kind of thought that is within reach of the human mind, such as logic and reason as opposed to universal spiritual truth, but the same could be said of any kind of truth or insight which is considered "absolute", including ultimate questions. Proving that any truth is absolute is another matter altogether, and that subject could fill a thread by itself. But how could anyone seriously accept an assertion that is so embarrasingly contradictory? Jim was right in a way saying that an agnostic view is more honest. Though believing in an ultimate truth which is knowable as I do, I can't applaud the agnostic claim either. I can respect it for saying "I don't know", but when it says "one cannot know", it also, like relativism, is bootlegging some of the "absolutes" which it absolutely denies.

Stephen.
Jamie
Member Elite
since 06-26-2000
Posts 3219
Blue Heaven


3 posted 03-22-2001 12:14 AM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

Of course there are absolute truths....they just don't apply on a universal scale...

It is absolutely true that to the best of my knowledge I have never been to Mars during this present lifetime on Earth,, that truth is beyond questioning..

The same can be said about many things that can not be contradicted in any way-- it is the absolute truth that life in Cleveland Ohio, USA did not come to an abrupt end yesterday as a result of mass hysteria from multiple Elvis sightings..... It did not happen,, people still exchange air ( we won't say live) in Cleveland...... all this is silly I know-- but....
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


4 posted 03-22-2001 08:50 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Okay, I enjoyed the jokes but what do you mean Jaime.

I don't trust your statements because you have not logically proven it.

For all I know you have been to Mars.

In philosophy, you can not use common sense. You have to think.

What you know is not an option.

Brad

PS I'm not finished.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


5 posted 03-22-2001 09:02 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Ooops, I cannot know that you know that you've been to Mars -- sorry about that.

It's called logic.


Brad

[This message has been edited by Brad (edited 03-22-2001).]

Jamie
Member Elite
since 06-26-2000
Posts 3219
Blue Heaven


6 posted 03-22-2001 11:12 AM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

you are absolutley correct brad-- YOU can't know.. but I do-- so it is MY absolute truth--not yours-- as I said, not universal--but rather personal... on the other hand I am quite sure you can find out if cleveland still exist,, or if it doesn't was it caused by the elvis thing...lol.....
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


7 posted 03-22-2001 12:06 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jaime,
Fair enough,
Can you prove it or do you feel you don't need to?
You haven't even started yet, you know?
Brad

jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


8 posted 03-22-2001 12:24 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Jamie:

I am not so certain you can know with absolute certainty that you haven't been to Mars. Even though the probability of this occurring is very slim, it is conceivable that you were abducted by an alien species and spirited to their outpost on Mars where they performed experiments on you and adjusted your memory to forget that the event ever took place.

The truth claim "Jamie has never been to Mars" is far from being beyond questioning. Also, if there are absolute truths, then I believe they are, by their very nature, universally applicable. There is no such thing as "MY absolute truth" and "YOUR absolute truth". You are suggesting that absolute truths are relative. Can something be its own antithesis? Sounds a little absurd to me.

Jim

P.S. If I am sounding a little bearish, check the Dow Jones Industrial Average and you will see why. The only absolute truth on Wall Street is that nothing is absolute.

Jamie
Member Elite
since 06-26-2000
Posts 3219
Blue Heaven


9 posted 03-22-2001 12:54 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

I went to great care not to say "i have not been to mars"-- only that to the best of my knowledge I had not been.......

I don't think any kind of truth need be universal..absolute or otherwise...of course another one is that there will be disagreement on some things among us here in passions-- the very nature of this thread proves the vailidity of that one......

[This message has been edited by Jamie (edited 03-22-2001).]

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


10 posted 03-22-2001 11:10 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I have to agree with Jim. If there is absolute truth it is universally applicable. For example, if it is true (and I'll bet it is) that you have never been to Mars, then this truth is equally valid for you and Brad, or anyone else for that matter. Even if Brad has elaborate theories about how you have been to Mars (wait... or is that Jim who has those? LOL), the fact that you have not been there is affecting him. He probably has already formulated a host of false beliefs (even if just speculating) trying to give credence to his own theories which are not true, ranging from cover-ups by government agencies, to secret alliances with martians by your mother. The point is, if you indeed have not been to Mars then this is a true statement regardless of who believes it or not.

One popular idea seems to be that truth is contingent upon human awareness. I don't accept this one at all. What about prior to the discovery of the planet Pluto? Did it exist or not? Human awareness allowed us to grasp what was already true, but didn't create that truth. The funny thing about truth is that it doesn't ask our permission, we just end up bumping into it someday...somehow.

I have mainly been talking about truths concerning facts of physical being. I also believe that there are truths which correspond to the "big questions" which are absolute and unavoidably universal. Such as "Why are we here"? "Does the universe have a consummate purpose and end"?, "Is there conscious existence (life) after physical death"? "Is there a God"? etc ...etc...

 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> Absolute Truth - Relativism Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors