Thursday, September 11, 2008

Post-Modernism again

Two days ago I gave the ethics lecture. While I love preparing a lecture like that I did not enjoy having to give such a lecture. The problem is authority. At the end of the day, ethics is about covering yourself. We do not develop virtues out of a fear of God (which produces the only worthwhile virtues), but rather virtues are developed out of the fear of consequences.

However, over and above that, I did attack the idea of relative truth. I love asking people if they are absolutely sure that all truth is relative. As my friend put it expertly: "I don't see anyone taking a firm stand for relative truth." Well put.

But then a new friend was in a class where everyone was pro-relative, even the lecturer. She stood up for truth, and she is such a blessing. She was shaking afterwards, but at least she does not just sit back and let lies be sought as truth. While speaking to her I developed two lovely arguments:

  • The love argument: If truth is relative, just remember that the next time someone tells you they love you. If truth is relative, they don't mean it in the way you understand it. And even worse, there is no way you can ever know for sure
  • The insult argument: Just tell a relitiver© that they are an idiot. Then ask them if that is a true or false statement. It's amazing how people will demand purity for themselves, yet insist that purity does not exist.
Another interesting discussion that came out of this was a property of truth: exclusiveness. While there are many truths that exist, there cannot be more than one truth about a particular subject. Truth excludes any kind of statement that does not conform to the originally posited statement.

So when someone says 'To each his own' when talking religion - you can now discuss something far more important - the nature of truth. They do not all lead to the same place.

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