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Relativism...

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Relativism...

Postby Beati Pauperes » Sun Apr 24, 2005 1:07 am

Is everything really relative?

I am interested in relativism and in answering the question above...

I would like to read your thoughts about it...

Thanks.... :D
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Re: Relativism...

Postby edonnelly » Sun Apr 24, 2005 2:39 am

Beati Pauperes wrote:Is everything really relative?

The speed of light in a vacuum, for one thing, is not relative. It is constant regardless of your frame of reference.
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Postby Beati Pauperes » Sun Apr 24, 2005 4:29 pm

Thanks edonnelly!!!

I forgot about it...Our Philosophy teacher had talked about that one, but unfortunately I could not refresh my mind because they took out Philosophy classes at my school...unbelievable. :cry:
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Apr 24, 2005 9:14 pm

there are other physical constants that could be mentioned here... but they'd just be constants... hmm, do they count?
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Postby amans » Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:06 pm

How about everything that is - that can't be relative to anything else, can it? :shock:
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Postby cweb255 » Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:32 am

In the realms of Truth, you have the Subjective and the Objective; the Subjective is Relative, the Objective is Immutable.
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Re: Relativism...

Postby yadfothgildloc » Tue Apr 26, 2005 6:12 pm

Beati Pauperes wrote:Is everything really relative?

I am interested in relativism and in answering the question above...


Very nearly, in a physical sense. In a moral sense, the field is wide open.

I'm still undecided reagrding morals and ethics.
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Postby Beati Pauperes » Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:51 am

Very nearly, in a physical sense. In a moral sense, the field is wide open.

I'm still undecided reagrding morals and ethics.


Yes, indeed, yadfothgildloc. Those seem to be the most contradictory 'fields.' I, also, am quite undecided regarding them.

Many thanks to everyone who has answered!!! :D
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Fri Apr 29, 2005 5:14 pm

Everything is relative, because nothing is alone.

No por mucho madrugar, amanece más temprano.
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Relativism is very dangerous and mistakenly held to promote

Postby dbigdawg » Tue May 03, 2005 1:06 am

Relativism is very dangerous and mistakenly held to promote tolerance.

Relativism basically holds the following:

The objective truth is that there is no object truth.

Let me say it again! :idea:

The objective truth is that there is no object truth.

Do you see the problem?

Interestingly it denies objective truth, but it holds that the objective truth is that there is no objective truth. :?:

Most people make the mistake of confusing objective truth with absolutism. :idea:

With relativism, you would not be able to use reason to convince someone of your position. You would be limited to not convincing them or using force to make that person accept it. :twisted:

Relativism can entail some very unlikely assumptions/results in metaphysics. We make our own reality and reality does not exist independent of ourselves and so forth. :shock:

This is it for now. I got to study for Finals!
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Re: Relativism is very dangerous and mistakenly held to prom

Postby yadfothgildloc » Tue May 03, 2005 5:14 am

dbigdawg wrote:With relativism, you would not be able to use reason to convince someone of your position. You would be limited to not convincing them or using force to make that person accept it. :twisted:


Who says?
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Postby chad » Wed May 04, 2005 6:57 am

sorry, i don't know what -ism words mean, they're all part of modern philosophy which i haven't studied much.

if 'relativism' means that things are relative, then i guess if you assume that things are 'knowable things', then all knowable things are relative to knowledge, as aristotle says in the categories.

this would mean that 'relativism' itself, if it's a knowable thing, is relative to knowledge.

it's also clear that if there are unknowable things then they're not relative to knowledge, at least according to aristotle's definition of relative.

i think as with all philosophy, arguments about whether "everything is relative" just lead to dogmatic statements, i.e. what is or is not the case. these arguments never lead anywhere, it doesn't matter either way. the modern idea of philosophy as being about eternal truths i think comes from the medieval/religious/dogmatic influences on reading these texts, i don't think this is how greek philosophy originally was, trying to find that perfect slogan like 'cogito ergo sum', 'all things are relative'. more interesting to me is the simple process of thinking through what relative means, as long as it stays simple enough for me to follow :)
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Wed May 04, 2005 8:21 am

There's a couple two three philosophical doctrines called relativism. They all boil down to this: Truth is relative. Hardly dangerous, except for Moral Absolutists on a mission. As if Truth was so important. Last time they took a count of liars, no doctrine appeared to be under-represented.

Really, if you hold something to be True, does it matter whether that truth is absolute or relative? If you need to muse and think about a thing's absoluteness, it probably isn't. A dog biting your a** is absolute, for example (no need for philosophies).
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Postby Democritus » Thu May 05, 2005 3:06 am

Bardo de Saldo wrote:There's a couple two three philosophical doctrines called relativism. They all boil down to this: Truth is relative. Hardly dangerous, except for Moral Absolutists on a mission. As if Truth was so important. Last time they took a count of liars, no doctrine appeared to be under-represented.


I would agree with you, but I would phrase this in a different way. Truth is not relative, truth is absolute. The problem is that sometimes it is quite difficult to see what is true. Some truths are simple but others are not simple at all. Sometimes people are in honest disagreement about what is true... and there is nothing wrong with that.

There are some truths which we will never know. We must have enough courage to seek the truth but enough humility to know that often we will not find it.

Bardo de Saldo wrote:Really, if you hold something to be True, does it matter whether that truth is absolute or relative?


Yes, it matters. But I think you and I are basically in agreement. The real problem is not any purported "relativists," it's moral absolutists.

chad wrote:if 'relativism' means that things are relative, then i guess if you assume that things are 'knowable things', then all knowable things are relative to knowledge, as aristotle says in the categories.


"Relativism" is a word misused by so-called "conservatives" in the U.S. If you don't tow the conservative party line, then you get accused of denying the whole idea of right and wrong. As if you were opposed to ethics as such.

The most obvious flaw in this argument is that the conservatives themselves are just as "relative" in their ethical behavior as anyone else. They are constantly making exceptions to their own supposed moral standards.

There are very few actual "relativists" out there. Pretty much 99% of the people walking the Earth have some kind of belief about what is true and what is false, and everybody except an out-an-out psychopath has some kind of ethical values. It doesn't come from the head, it comes from the gut. IMHO that's part of the hardware of human beings.

The idea that "nothing is true" is just a philosophical game. It's an interesting debate, an intellectual exercise, nothing more. When push comes to shove, people know the value of truth. All people.

dbigdawg wrote:With relativism, you would not be able to use reason to convince someone of your position. You would be limited to not convincing them or using force to make that person accept it. :twisted:


History if full of bloodbaths, perpetrated by people who do think they know what's right and wrong. The issue isn't relativism, the issue is humility and basic ethical standards. The abandonment of reason is normally perpetrated by absolutists, who think they already have all the answers and no longer allow themelves to be swayed by any rational arguments. Who needs reason, if you are already the proud possessor of absolute truth?

Anyone who tries to reason with an absolutist will be accused of defying truth itself... accused of being a relativist. For an absolutist, there is no distinction between "disagreeing about what is true" and "denying truth itself." :shock:
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Thu May 05, 2005 8:51 am

One of the meanings of 'relative' is: that which is not absolute. Hence the relativism and absolutism naming, not to be confused with Einstein or Louis XIV.

Truth, as an idea, is absolute by definition. What is true, as an idea, is relative by experience.

Most of the World, including us, is absolute for all practical purposes. If we both look at a tree, we can philosophise about its subatomic particles' quantum relativity all we want, but we'll both know that the tree is still an absolute tree.

There are ideas that represent things held to be real by some and imaginary by others, like: gods, angels, witches, lares, spirits and the like. Their truth is not relative, it is just not universally evident.

Then there's Morality, an idea that deals with Judgement (another idea) and Right and Wrong (yet another idea). As ideas they are absolute by definition, and relative by experience. Whether your own moral laws are absolute or relative depends on how many people agree with you, and it's ultimately irrelevant. The problem with killers, thiefs, rapists, liers, hypocrites, gluttons, haters, hurters, exploiters, satyrs, etc is not moral relativity or absoluteness.

If your morals keep you from hurting me, I won't question their relativism. If you want to hurt me, your morals are wrong, absolute or not.
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The Relativist Petard

Postby dbigdawg » Fri May 06, 2005 2:18 am

You must have missed something. Objective truth does not necessarily mean that it is absolute. Objective truth can be overturned with a better argument. Relativist basically deny that you can know any except that there is no objective truth.

Actually this is not just in Modern Philosophy. You should read Heraclitus. Which violates Aristotles Law Non-Contradiction.

If you are relativist, I don't know why you are worried about what I believe or say, for the truth is relative. LOL. In fact, relativist deny that there is any universal truth. Except that there is only one universal objective truth that there is not universal objective truth.

Anyways, YEA FINALS ARE ALMOST OVER!!!
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Re: The Relativist Petard

Postby Bert » Fri May 06, 2005 5:44 am

dbigdawg wrote: Objective truth does not necessarily mean that it is absolute. Objective truth can be overturned with a better argument.
I am not really into Philosophy but the above does not make sense to me.
In my mind objective truth can not be overturned with a better argument but subjective truth can.
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Postby dbigdawg » Fri May 06, 2005 8:04 pm

AGAIN!!! Objective Truth is not necessarily entail absolutism, yet a philosophical system can hold objective truth to be absolute thus not changable. On the other hand, a philosophical system can hold objective truth to not be absolute, so it could be overturned with with an argument (reason) proving it fales.

Concerning subjectivity:

Dictionary.com defines subjectivity as follows: judgment based on individual personal impressions and feelings and opinions rather than external facts.

This sounds familiar to me: Man is the measure of all things.

Let me ask you a question? Would you pefer someone to use personal impressions and feelings or objective truth when making a decision. (Jury member deciding on a Death Penality Case).

Really relativism leads to subjectivism. They are essentially the samething.

Aristotle's Law of Non-Contradiction states that something can neither be nor not be at the sametime. (Which Relativism denies).

You are mistaken subjectivism with tolerance. You should do some serious reading about relativism/subjectivism. The consequence of relativism and subjectivism are very troubling and undersirable.

There are very few philosophers who are relativists. Seriously. I doubt that those few philosophers who are relativists are taken very seriously in there field.
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Postby ThomasGR » Fri May 06, 2005 11:11 pm

Relativism?

One has only to ask an artist (who’s trying to get in touch with the absolute beauty) to get the only possible answer: there isn’t anything like absolute beauty. All things are relative to each other and the surrounding culture has the take the final decision. The color schemes Indians like, a European would find most ugly, and vice versa.

Kurt Goedel of the 20th century formulated it more exactly. Within a system of thoughts, all postulates seem to bare an equal respected amount of truth, which has not to be necessarily provable. A system has its validity even if it cannot be proved for its truth. Or better, like another scientist of his time has shown so well, the more you search and examine truth’s truth in its partial details, the more you’ll get lost and will not come to any result. Seemingly, some things can be both true and false (and perhaps have also some other options which we humans (stuck at the present stage of evolution) cannot perceive).

And last, the ancient Greeks liked to ramble so much this phrase:
τα πάντα ρεί...
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sat May 07, 2005 3:18 am

"AGAIN!!! Objective Truth is not necessarily entail absolutism [...]" (Dbigdawg)

You repeat yourself more than garlic, Mr. dbigdawg. Relative/absolute and subjective/objective are different things. These pairs of opposites work like all pairs of opposites: You can't have one without the other.

Black and white, for example, are not ideas, nor opposite, and each is absolute in its own right. Absolute and relative are adjective ideas of things, opposite, and they are the only ideas that can't be tagged as relative or absolute (just as you can't say that good is bad or that ugly is ugly).

Objective and subjective, dbigdawg, are mainly adjectives. You use them with another idea, truth. If you start categorizing truth as objective and subjective, absolute and relative, good and bad, pretty and ugly, real and unreal, abstract and concrete, you still end up with truth.

I find it helpful to categorize ideas as subjective and objective. I try not to transvestite my opinions as absolute truth or objective knowledge to fool the gullible. I don't want the gullible's power or money, so I don't have a good reason to do so, anyway.

Have you noticed, dbigdawg, that no one here has claimed to be a relativist, and therefore your use of you becomes confusing? What is your point, other than subjectivists and relativists are bad? That tolerance is bad, too? Let me guess... you're in the good side!

"Dbigdawg, dbigdawg, the Subjectivists are coming!"
"How many are they?"
"A hundred and one!"
"And how do you know that they are objectively a hundred and one?"
"There's one in the front, and about a hundred behind!"

:D
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Postby dbigdawg » Sat May 07, 2005 3:29 am

Who's talking about absolute truth? Just objective truth. That is an unfair switch in terms. You tried to hide it by talking about absolute beauty. Which would be more apatly put as objective beauty. In that one proves an actual agrument using reason for that objects beauty objectively. I believe that it is pretty evident that you were equivocating.

Second, cultural relativism. If cultural relativism that entail ethical relativism is true and right. Then that would make people like Martin Luther King was wrong because the cultural (a mass of people) determine what is right. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis would be right, for the culture supported it. When you hold cultural relativism is true there are some spokey metaphysical consequences that follow. What every a cultural thinks is true and right, so a cultural could thing gravity does not exist. Common sense would tell us that no matter how many people think or wish gravity away gravity will still pull them down to Earth.

It is true that the apple does not fall far from the tree, but just because a large group of people (a culture) think that something is right and do that doesn't make it right nor does it make a fact.

Kurt Goedel was Mathmatican not really a philosopher. I don't believe that he was supporting relativism/subjectivism, but it might be relevant. I really don't know much about Kurt Goedel. Yes, an argument can be structually valid but not sound. That is elementary logic today. I don't really see what he say has to do with this argument. You keep making an assumption that any objective truth is absolute for that is not always the case. Common sense would tell you that as a human being we are limited in our ability grasp all of reality, so it is going to be the case that our ideas, theorms, and arguments will miss some of reality. That is why there are scientific revolution in how humans see the world. (Einstein, Newton, Gallileo, Aristotle, Plato, and etc.).

Something can be both true and false? In other words, can be and not be at the sametime? Really? Give me some examples. But first, you argue that you can use your sense perception for something that can be and not be at the sametime. If something can be and not be at the same time it is not only contradictory but unintelligible. If it is unintelligible can you tell me anything about it. I don't believe that you can say anything about something that is unintelligible. Except that it is unintelligible.

It is interesting to read people arguing against objective truth using objective truth but denying to at the sametime. Tolerance is important, but I don't believe that relativism helps promote tolerance. It is true that there are vary degrees of value in everyone argument and views, yet that does not make them all equally true. I personally find relativism as dangerous as absolutism.

Remember, there is absolute objective truth that is not overturnable, and there is just objective truth that is not absolute and is overturnable by reason.

Focus on objective truth not absolute truth. Keep the distinction.
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Postby dbigdawg » Sat May 07, 2005 3:12 pm

It is true that truth is a noun, and it true that objective, absolute, and relative are adjectivies that modify a noun, truth. But it is important to which adjective modifies truth, for that indicates how what was used to arrive at the conclusion held as truth. It seems like you are saying that objective, absolute, and relative are all equal, so the distinction between them is of no consequence.

Concerning the use of you. That was not an attempt to personalize it. It was simply a use of the second person, for it seemed more natural to use the second person than the third person at the time. Unlike you I didn't try to single out somebody nor did I directly address someone by name or username.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sat May 07, 2005 5:27 pm

It doesn't bother me, it's just confusing. You say your thing, chad says his thing, I say my thing, Democritus says his thing, Bert says his thing and then you come back and repeat your thing because you (that's we, or I, perhaps) don't understand. Then you (we, chad?) are relativists, and relativists are dangerous. I repeat: dangerous. Beware, folks. So tell us, dbigdawg, who is dangerous, so that we can protect ourselves? (I suspect it's chad :wink: )

a glass half full: absolute fact.
a glass half empty: relatively true.

"This glass is half full": objective truth.
"This glass is half empty": subjective opinion.

That was a play of words, hardly to die for. Still, absolute is the opposite of relative, and objective and absolute are not the same.

"so the distinction between them is of no consequence."

Ideal distinctions are of no consequence to the real thing distinguished. You might have a good reason to stand in front of a tree and distinguish whether it is decidous or perennial. What you distinguish, whether true or false, doesn't change the tree. Then there's Morality and your example of the death sentence, which is not a tree. Then there's objective truth, as you say. Truth trascends the subjective, and if it needs the subjective/objective modifier, it means that we are not dealing with truth, but with opinion. (Your opinion can be true, but that's a whole different matter.)
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Postby ThomasGR » Sat May 07, 2005 10:37 pm

Bardo:
a glass half full: absolute fact.
a glass half empty: relatively true.

Well, this is a simplified example, but still valid.
Or maybe not?

Dbigdawg:
Kurt Goedel was mathematician not really a philosopher.

I consider Mathematics to be part of philosophy. That’s how it started, and it is the essence of all thoughts. The rest is plain babbling and lot of words without sense. Observe the tools mathematicians use. Simplifying an issue, substitutions, postulates and axioms, etc. just to mention only few. It reflects perfect how human brains work. First you state an axiom, and than you try to prove its truth, and though some postulates are not provable or are yet not proved, we still consider them valid and true.

Dbigdawg:
Something can be both true and false? In other words, can be and not be at the sametime?

Yes, and No, I don’t know, never understood Koedel’s theorem. It looks it can be. All this thread started assuming that all we understand the same thing under relativism, and the course of the discussion lead us quarrelling if Truth is absolute or objective, relative or subjective. Strange enough, but we have already created a “closed system of thoughts”, with tenets and postulates hardly questionable, or else the whole case collapses. Well, than, perhaps one should start a new topic and try to define WHAT IS TRUTH? In the western world this thing has its roots in religion when people in the later antiquity questioned the existence of God, or in Euclid’s mathematics with its axioms, but in other cultures one understands if reality exists or is just an illusion. I like Euclid, and often am fond of the second route.

Dbigdawg:
It is true that the apple does not fall far from the tree, but just because a large group of people (a culture) think that something is right and do that doesn't make it right nor does it make a fact.

Whatever Truth might be, it changes through the centuries and often gives the impression that it is a cultural product. Today’s truth is that the earth revolves around the sun, but was it always so? Some centuries ago, the sun was spinning around the earth. Our culture binds us to say that the earth is flat, and whenever someone tells you otherwise, don’t trust him, he’s after your pocket!!!

Bardo:
"This glass is half full": objective truth.
"This glass is half empty": subjective opinion.

The Turth is only one: there is not such thing like Truth.
All things are relative to only one centrum: humane brains and how we perceive the surrounding world.




There is no glass, so how can it be half full or half empty?
What is full or empty? Half?
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Postby ThomasGR » Sat May 07, 2005 11:43 pm

...an unusual kind of formulation:

Form does not differ from emptiness;
emptiness does not differ from form.

That which is form is emptiness, that which is emptiness form...

All dharma are marked with emptiness;
they do not appear or disappear, are not tainted or pure, do not increase or decrease.

Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness. No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no colour, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness.

The Heart Sutra
http://www.kwanumzen.com/practice/chant ... glish.html
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Helloooo!!

Postby Beati Pauperes » Wed May 18, 2005 3:45 am

Hello to all of you who kindly took part of their time and responded (and may I add, discussed) the question I posted. I enjoyed all your responses and I am sorry I had not answer to any of you, but my lack of Internet connection did not allow me to do so.

Therefore, today my Internet was fixed (en hora buena!) and I was able to read all your replies, which are really deep in thinking and they have helped me a lot to understand relativism...So, thanks and please, if you wish to continue the debate, do so, because ideas are always welcome and I would appreciate it!! :D
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