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Impossibility of relativism?

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posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 03:40 AM
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I offer this quote up to you for your consideration:

"If I make the statement all truth is relative, that statement either includes itself or excludes itself. If it includes itself, that means that statement is also relative which means it's not always true. If it excludes itself than it's positing an absolute while denying that absolutes actually exist." ~ Ravi Zacharias

I myself am an objectivist (one who asserts that morality and truth are absolute and fixed) but had never heard the relativist dilemma framed quite like this. I am curious as to how a relativist (one who asserts that morality and truth are not absolute) would respond to this statement? I'm not looking for a debate, rather looking to understand an opposing perspective.

Looking forward to your replies ATS!




posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 04:10 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence
"If I make the statement all truth is relative...



Seems like a straw man argument to me.

Mostly I get the feeling that in this matter there are things that are completely true, such as the existence of the sun or the fact that this sentence exists... but that what people argue over endlessly are truths that are possibly relative depending on personal opinions. eg: Killing people is bad, always.

For example, the wikipedia entry for Relativism describes it as

the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.


So nobody is saying that *all* truths are relative, so the argument against it is a bogus straw man.

Edit - the wikipedia entry has a reference to the argument you described.
On a personal note, I once met someone many years ago who subscribed to the view that anything is true if it is "true for them". I asked him then if it is possible for anyone to ever be wrong about anything, ever? After thinking about it a moment, he replied that, no, nobody can ever be wrong, ever.
At that point I changed the topic, knowing further discussion was pointless.

edit on 27-3-2012 by alfa1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 04:12 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence
I offer this quote up to you for your consideration:

"If I make the statement all truth is relative, that statement either includes itself or excludes itself. If it includes itself, that means that statement is also relative which means it's not always true. If it excludes itself than it's positing an absolute while denying that absolutes actually exist." ~ Ravi Zacharias

I myself am an objectivist (one who asserts that morality and truth are absolute and fixed) but had never heard the relativist dilemma framed quite like this. I am curious as to how a relativist (one who asserts that morality and truth are not absolute) would respond to this statement? I'm not looking for a debate, rather looking to understand an opposing perspective.

Looking forward to your replies ATS!


I am currently watching and reading a lot of stuff related to quantum physics and I am baffled by what I find. And sometimes I come to the conclusion that if some of the discoveries in quantum physics look "wrong", maybe it's because we look at it with a biased eye, maybe the premises of our thinking are wrong. The things that define our reality are much more complex and alien than we think. For example some particles like photons or electrons will behave differently depending on whether we observe them or not. That could change the way we see things and what we consider being the truth. Maybe for the first time in history, modern physicists dare to use words like "consciousness" in their concepts. What!? Consciousness could have a proven effect on matter?! So, at least with quantum physics, we know that at least some real physical phenomenons can be true and false at the same time, things that we can only define with probabilities..

I am not sure that was the answer you were waiting for.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 05:02 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence
I offer this quote up to you for your consideration:

"If I make the statement all truth is relative, that statement either includes itself or excludes itself. If it includes itself, that means that statement is also relative which means it's not always true. If it excludes itself than it's positing an absolute while denying that absolutes actually exist." ~ Ravi Zacharias

I myself am an objectivist (one who asserts that morality and truth are absolute and fixed) but had never heard the relativist dilemma framed quite like this. I am curious as to how a relativist (one who asserts that morality and truth are not absolute) would respond to this statement? I'm not looking for a debate, rather looking to understand an opposing perspective.

Looking forward to your replies ATS!


isn't that quote like the story of the Cretenzer who woke up, stated that all Cretenzers are liars and went back to sleep?

I don't know about "truth" but I do know that components of morality aren't absolute at all. They tend to differ locally and temporary. (Appreciation of behavior tends to change and things that change can't be absolute)



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 07:47 AM
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reply to post by followtheevidence
 



"If it includes itself, that means that statement is also relative which means it's not always true."


There is no problem with this conclusion. Not only is Truth relative, All is relative. If there were no relativity, there would be no existence as we presently perceive it. The perception of individual and separate things will cease.

Considering and integrating all of the various levels and layers of the micro to the macro into infinity, there will always be a 'perceived' correct and wrong understanding. Change relativity/perspective, and another 'correct' understand emerges. When is a tree just a tree and when is a forest just a forest? Only relativity can tell you that.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 08:17 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence
I offer this quote up to you for your consideration:

"If I make the statement all truth is relative, that statement either includes itself or excludes itself. If it includes itself, that means that statement is also relative which means it's not always true. If it excludes itself than it's positing an absolute while denying that absolutes actually exist." ~ Ravi Zacharias

I myself am an objectivist (one who asserts that morality and truth are absolute and fixed) but had never heard the relativist dilemma framed quite like this. I am curious as to how a relativist (one who asserts that morality and truth are not absolute) would respond to this statement? I'm not looking for a debate, rather looking to understand an opposing perspective.

Looking forward to your replies ATS!


Objectivism is also prone to contradiction. If I make the statement that "all truth is absolute and fixed", that statement might appear truthful at face value, but can also lead to contradiction.

For example, consider the following statements made about planets in the solar system:
(a) Jupiter is larger in size than Earth.
(b) Jupiter is much larger in size than Earth.
(c) Jupiter is x km larger in size than Earth.
(d) Jupiter is x km larger than Earth, but y km smaller than the Sun.

Are not each of the above statements true? If so, then they must be all absolutely true (as per our statement that all truth is absolute). But we know that (d) is more accurate than (c), which is more accurate than (b), which is more accurate than (a). So how can they all be absolutely true if there are varying degrees of truth?

The point I am trying to make is that while all these statements are true, only the more exact one is actually absolutely true. But since we already stated that all truth is absolute, isn't that a contradiction?

(The above example illustrates the danger that Objectivism is vulnerable to when faced with deception.)
edit on 27/3/2012 by Dark Ghost because: reworded



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:06 AM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


Truth is absolute in what it states. So while the statement "the sun is larger than the earth" can certainly be modified for accuracy, it does not change the absolute fact that the sun is bigger than the earth.

A statement of measurement can always be infinitely more precise; that doesn't render the claims of each preceding statements any less true.

I'm not seeing the contradiction here, just semantics.

ETA: It seems like you're trying to argue that for a statement to be absolutely true it must state precisely all that a thing is.

I am a female. That is absolutely true.

I am a female who is 28yrs old. That is also absolutely true.

Failing to state ALL that I am in stating that I am female does not change the absolute fact that I am female.
edit on 27-3-2012 by followtheevidence because: clarification



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:09 AM
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Not only is Truth relative, All is relative.


This is an absolute statement



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:27 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence
I offer this quote up to you for your consideration:

"If I make the statement all truth is relative, that statement either includes itself or excludes itself. If it includes itself, that means that statement is also relative which means it's not always true. If it excludes itself than it's positing an absolute while denying that absolutes actually exist." ~ Ravi Zacharias

I myself am an objectivist (one who asserts that morality and truth are absolute and fixed) but had never heard the relativist dilemma framed quite like this. I am curious as to how a relativist (one who asserts that morality and truth are not absolute) would respond to this statement? I'm not looking for a debate, rather looking to understand an opposing perspective.

Looking forward to your replies ATS!


I am a relativist. If there is an objective truth, then it is self-proclaimed and neither objective nor subjective. It is the unity of the two. We believe ourselves to be objective, but if there is a God, then we are of its own subjective mind, and therefore, all reality is subjective. In this case, the only objective truth would be the truth that is the creator who creates its own reality. To the creator, everything is both objective and subjective.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:27 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence
ETA: It seems like you're trying to argue that for a statement to be absolutely true it must state precisely all that a thing is.


Isn't that the definition of absolute?



I am a female. That is absolutely true.

I am a female who is 28yrs old. That is also absolutely true.


Those statements may be true, but they are not absolutely true.


Just because I don't state ALL that I am in stating that I am female, this does not change the absolute fact that I am female.


I realise that this type of reasoning can seem rather convoluted, but I still stand by what I said earlier. If all truth is to be classified as absolute and fixed, then there cannot be degrees of truth. Since we established that there are degrees of truth, how can one claim truth is absolute and fixed?



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:29 AM
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The only objective truth I've found is that we exist. However, our existence is defined entirely on relative terms, so since we exist, what can we say we exist as? Whatever we call ourselves is a subjective conclusion of the one existential fact.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:34 AM
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reply to post by smithjustinb
 


Exactly! Even that seemingly concrete "objective" truth is really subjective.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:45 AM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


For what something states it can be absolutely true.

I'm wondering if we think of absolute in different terms. Absolutely true means true in all circumstances, places, times. I was born female. That will always be true, no matter where I go, what I do, how much time has passed - even in 12,533 years, it will remain true. I am female and 28yrs old. That will not always be true so it cannot be absolute even if it is more precise.

I guess you would have to show me how simply stating that I was born female isn't absolutely true for what it states.

And besides - you're not actually arguing that absolute truth doesn't exist, but that our language struggles to convey it adequately.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:50 AM
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Reality is what it is and is not what it is not. There is the way things are and the way things are not.

Reality being relative to our perception only affects our experience of reality - not reality in truth.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence

I guess you would have to show me how simply stating that I was born female isn't absolutely true for what it states.



What if you aren't a female? What if you are some kind of non-dual spirit of probabilities/possibilities that is undefined until you define it, and you are only playing the role of female for the duration of this life only.

In that case, calling yourself a female would not be entirely true.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:54 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence
Reality is what it is and is not what it is not. There is the way things are and the way things are not.

Reality being relative to our perception only affects our experience of reality - not reality in truth.



Moreover, this reality you refer to cannot be divided for the only thing that makes a division of it is that which experiences it relatively from its personal perspective.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:55 AM
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Originally posted by smithjustinb

Originally posted by followtheevidence
Reality is what it is and is not what it is not. There is the way things are and the way things are not.

Reality being relative to our perception only affects our experience of reality - not reality in truth.



Moreover, this reality you refer to cannot be divided for the only thing that makes a division of it is that which experiences it relatively from its personal perspective.


Which goes to further support what I said about you might not be a female, for in this objective reality, you and I are one, and I am a male.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:58 AM
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Originally posted by smithjustinb

Originally posted by followtheevidence
Reality is what it is and is not what it is not. There is the way things are and the way things are not.

Reality being relative to our perception only affects our experience of reality - not reality in truth.



Moreover, this reality you refer to cannot be divided for the only thing that makes a division of it is that which experiences it relatively from its personal perspective.


But that relative experience doesn't accurately describe reality as it is in truth. So again, relative only to the observer - but that doesn't change that reality is what it is and is not what it is not.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:59 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence

Not only is Truth relative, All is relative.


This is an absolute statement


Ahah! There you have it. The only absolute truth is that truth is relative.



posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 10:01 AM
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Originally posted by followtheevidence

Originally posted by smithjustinb

Originally posted by followtheevidence
Reality is what it is and is not what it is not. There is the way things are and the way things are not.

Reality being relative to our perception only affects our experience of reality - not reality in truth.



Moreover, this reality you refer to cannot be divided for the only thing that makes a division of it is that which experiences it relatively from its personal perspective.


But that relative experience doesn't accurately describe reality as it is in truth. So again, relative only to the observer - but that doesn't change that reality is what it is and is not what it is not.


The only thing about this is that reality isn't until it is observed.



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