The Slippery Slope of Relativism

About: living on purpose

This is well worth getting on their mailing list.
source: ... Relativism : A theory, especially in ethics or aesthetics, that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them; the philosophical doctrine that all criteria of judgment are relative to the individuals and situations involved
...
source: ... Two belief positions feeding this polarization are political correctness and relativism.
...



Tags

  1. relativism
  2. straw man
  3. intellectual dishonesty

Comments


Seth says
It's always funny to watch someone define an idea when they are against it.   Then, if they are intellectually dishonest, the feel they are free to prop up a strawman which they can easily knock down ....
source: about op-ed piece above

Relativism means no societal norms, standards, or beliefs; for a relativist, norms are constantly fluctuating and being established in the moment by each person.

My friends, that is not what relativism means at all.  In fact it is contradictory.  Societal norms and standards cannot exist without a group which subscribes to them.  A person who is a member of that group will believe in those norms and standards.  They are not free to fluctuate in the moment. 



Mark de LA says
Strangely enough the source of this article is not a political dialogue. It's about leadership and living on purpose. The oft cited example is that of a basketball game. If you are going to play basketball you have to adhere to all the rules - the lines on the floor, shooting & dribbling as appropriate.  You can still excel & be the best player in the world, but you can only do that if you play by the rules. If you want to make up your own rules then you will probably have to do it somewhere else.
I posted the article because I knew it was opposite to your beliefs.  His definition is pretty good IMHO. 
source: ... Relativism means no societal norms, standards, or beliefs; for a relativist, norms are constantly fluctuating and being established in the moment by each person.
... is a natural corrollary to the definition - not a straw man as your so oft to bandy about.
If everything is relative to the group you are in then society as a whole (ie. all of us) can have no norms as a whole. BTW, people act contrary to their beliefs all the time.


Seth says
M 2006-07-07 21:51:02 3879
His definition is pretty good IMHO.  

Mark, a simple google relativism should have changed your humble opinion ...
source:Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (the i'm feeling lucky link)

Although there are many different kinds of relativism, they all have two features in common. 1) They all assert that one thing (e.g. moral values, beauty, knowledge, taste, or meaning) is relative to some particular framework or standpoint (e.g. the individual subject, a culture, an era, a language, or a conceptual scheme).

2) They all deny that any standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.

Now do you see anything in there about "norms are constantly fluctuating and being established in the moment by each person" ?


Mark de LA says
Most people don't use relativism that way.  In particular Item 2 is most often used in the sense that "your values don't apply to me" sense.  Context is important - everything is held in some context; beginning with the one that there is an objective reality. But to say that there are no universal values amongst civilized people is to lead yourself into anarchy. When you begin to draw the circle too close to yourself as to what group you are talking about & then assert that you have freedom in that circle to do whatever you want you are going in the direction of:
source: ... norms are constantly fluctuating and being established in the moment by each person
... On the other hand there is also the law of Thelema: (admittedly in-group)
source: ... Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will.
...which very few people really understand (like the second piece).

The following is a grab bag of ideas & questions which I think are related:
What can an atheist use for universal values, if any ? IMHO, most people shun the first 4-5 of the ten commandments. I tend to reject the first one only because all gods & devils seem to say the same thing, i.e. "love me only & I will give you everything you want". Does Seth accept the last five ? IMHO, the Golden Rule covers them all. Does Seth at least accept the Golden Rule as a personal code of conduct ?
There is a difference here between truth & relativism in my book.




Seth says
M 2006-07-08 07:03:09 3879
Most people don't use relativism that way.  In particular Item 2 is most often used in the sense that "your values don't apply to me" sense. 
Well i think that this is a talking point of "most" conservitive writers.  They do just like you have done, they prop up a straw man saying "Look how rediculous this sounds".  By doing that they change the language.  But the real philosophical thinking behind the real concept of relitivism does not contain those elements.  Certainly you can see that this is not a valid inditement of my thinking and views.
Context is important - everything is held in some context; beginning with the one that there is an objective reality.
Solipsism is not relativism.  That is a different discussion.  Btw i do not believe in solipsism. Certainly context is important, in a way it is another dimension of my pet epestemic  formula:  X is true to A in the context of C.  In your sentence above you have linked it to the basic solipistic assumption, but i don't get the connection.
But to say that there are no universal values amongst civilized people is to lead yourself into anarchy.
  I would not say "there are no universal values amongst civilized people" ... to me it is a contradiction;  for to be a human is to be a member of a group and to call that group "civilized" is to further restrain it. 

Actually i have always wondered about the similarities between "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" and your "values being established in the moment by each person" and even my "if i am free, then i determing what is right and  wrong for me".  They seem very similar, do they not?  Here is where you can inform me ... what does the the law of Thelema mean to Thelmites?
What can an atheist use for universal values, if any ?
Try survival for starters.

Mark de LA says
You kinda screwed up the rest of what I said so a discourse on the subtleties of the Law of Thelema seem pointless at this moment.


Mark de LA says
M 2006-07-08 09:53:13 3879
Nobody survives ! **


** with the possible exception of JC

Generally, in modern America anyway, it's hard NOT to survive for less than ~ 65 years unless you are suicidal. But in the end nobody does.

Seth says
M 2006-07-08 09:59:54 3879
M 2006-07-08 09:53:13 3879
Generally, in modern America anyway, it's hard NOT to survive for less than ~ 65 years unless you are suicidal. But in the end nobody does.
i though with your after life, everybody does. 

When you talk about survival, you really need to answer the question: Survival of what?  ... sruvival of a plan? ... sruvival of a way of life? ... survival of a individual biological unit? ... there are lots of things that one can concern onself with when it comes to survival. 

Seth says
M 2006-07-08 09:57:00 3879
You kinda screwed up the rest of what I said so a discourse on the subtleties of the Law of Thelema seem pointless at this moment.
yep you ususaly do that just when things get to the point of being interesting .

Mark de LA says
seth 2006-07-08 10:07:38 3879
M 2006-07-08 09:59:54 3879
M 2006-07-08 09:53:13 3879
Generally, in modern America anyway, it's hard NOT to survive for less than ~ 65 years unless you are suicidal. But in the end nobody does.
i though with your after life, everybody does. 

When you talk about survival, you really need to answer the question: Survival of what?  ... sruvival of a plan? ... sruvival of a way of life? ... survival of a individual biological unit? ... there are lots of things that one can concern onself with when it comes to survival. 
Answer your own question.  I rarely bring it up except in response to your posts, Seth. The cycle of all things seem to have a birth & death - even the popularity or persistence of ideas.

Mark de LA says
seth 2006-07-08 10:09:28 3879
M 2006-07-08 09:57:00 3879
You kinda screwed up the rest of what I said so a discourse on the subtleties of the Law of Thelema seem pointless at this moment.
yep you ususaly do that just when things get to the point of being interesting .
Again just ad hominem.

Seth says
Interesting dialogue re relativism and modern sex with Keith on facebook here

See Also

  1. Thought A Better Truth with 3 viewings related by tag "relativism".
  2. Thought What is the purpose of Item 4336 ? with 2 viewings related by tag "straw man".
  3. Thought Political Campaigns, Straw men, and Hyocracy with 1 viewings related by tag "straw man".
  4. Thought about: With Stupidity, All Things Are Possible with 0 viewings related by tag "intellectual dishonesty".
  5. Thought Cracked Obama with 0 viewings related by tag "straw man".