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Wednesday, October 01, 2003
The Relative Nature of Relativism
My goodness fellas, it was joke made 5 minutes before I left the office for the day, get over yourselves.
As for Adam’s interpretation of my post, I found it both entertaining and enjoyable. It’s nice that the Marx101 course he’s taken has made him an “authority” on relativism. To that end, I’m sure the subtle distinctions between ethical relativism and cultural relativism serve him well in the classroom, but in reality as they say, it’s all academic. Whether one reaches the conclusion that there is no absolute standard for right and wrong, no absolute truth, through individual or societal means, the consequences are the same. The consequences were the point of my post.
Similarly, while cultural relativism and moral absolutism may be compatible in the classroom, it certainly doesn’t present itself in the real world. In reality, those that accept the notion that the concepts of right and wrong are subjective and based purely on culture and environment, do not also believe that while this is true, their cultural version of right and wrong is morally absolute.
Your notion that ethical relativism simply doesn’t exist outside the confines of your poli-sci department is also not surprising since your polling population is twenty other “authorities” residing in your philosophy class. It also explains why you ignored the extreme Darwinians in my post (who were really the intended targets). These folks find no right or wrong side in any conflict, they simply see two opposing forces in battle and feel only that the strongest will, and should, prevail. That is ethical relativism in action, and with a gun.
Relativism, whether ethical, cultural, moral, situational, cognitive or pornographic, is both illogical and self-defeating. If relativism is true and all points of view are true, then the assertion that relativism is false, is true. Is this contradictory? Yes. Is truth contradictory? No. All of this, however, moves unnecessarily past the actual point of my post, which was that moral equivalence, again regardless of it’s theoretical basis or origin, is inherently dangerous and if left unchecked will eventually usurp our ethical advantage over our enemies. That is what we all must fight and avoid, even those being ruled with an iron fist by their Poli-Sci proffesors.
Finally, please don’t dis Popeye Doyle.
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