• anonymous66
    626
    I've been thinking a lot about pluralism vs monism. It seems obvious to me that there are many ways to describe our world. It also seems to me that relativism is meaningless, so objectivity wins out over relativism.

    But will there ever be a way to completely describe reality as we know it?

    It would be great if all world religions could come to some kind of agreement about the nature of reality. Are there only 2 options? Accept some kind of plurality (all religions are true), or accept that one world religion has gotten it right (and therefor we must accept that religion)?

    Or is it the case that there is one "correct" view of reality (that has no basis in religion) and that we should all accept that "correct" view of reality?

    It seems to me that the universe as we know it is not just one thing, it is many things. So, I'm a pluralist. I'm also not a relativist... But, I have entertained the idea of pluralism in regards to truth.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    It also seems to me that relativism is meaningless, so objectivity wins out over relativism.

    Everything objective must be first thought, but there is no way to confirm that what is thought is the way things are. Perhaps the only way around relativism, while still retaining it and and at the same time limiting its scope, is pragmatism where only what fits and works out for us becomes the "correct" view of reality".
  • anonymous66
    626
    Are you are stating that pragmatism is the best system? Or are you open to a plurality of competitors to pragmatism?
    What if someone says, "I don't find pragmatism appealing....I like X instead." Must he be converted to pragmatism?
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    ↪Cavacava Are you are stating that pragmatism is the best system? Or are you open to a plurality of competitors to pragmatism?

    I am suggesting that pragmatism may be a way to confront relativism from within a relativistic standpoint. If our description of the world on a perspective basis leads to a plurality of possible interpretations, then pragmatism may be a way to thin out this plurality by choosing those interpretations which are better because they are more useful in living our life and similarly discounting those which are not.

    What competitors do you have in mind and are they viable in a similar manner?

    What if someone says, "I don't find pragmatism appealing....I like X instead." Must he be converted to pragmatism?

    No, but that person must be able to show their "system" is a viable or superior contender.
  • anonymous66
    626
    What I'm wondering about, is: is it necessary to find "the one system"? And what if one's preferred way of viewing ultimate reality is in conflict with other ways to view reality(that seems pretty likely, doesn't it?)?

    I'm leaning toward just accepting that we may never find that complete system, and accepting that there are a plurality of views.
  • anonymous66
    626
    I'm looking over the wiki entry on pluralism. (bold and underlining are mine) I am also thinking about pluralism vs monism in regards to metaphysics, ontology, epistemology and logic (and truth).
    Pluralism is a term used in philosophy, meaning "doctrine of multiplicity", often used in opposition to monism ("doctrine of unity") and dualism ("doctrine of duality"). The term has different meanings in metaphysics, ontology, epistemology and logic.

    In metaphysics, pluralism is a doctrine that there is more than one reality, while monism holds that there is but one reality, that may have single objective ontology or plural ontology. In one form, it is a doctrine that many substances exist, in contrast with monism which holds existence to be a single substance, often either matter (materialism) or mind (idealism), and dualism believes two substances, such as matter and mind, to be necessary.

    In ontology, pluralism refers to different ways, kinds, or modes of being. For example, a topic in ontological pluralism is the comparison of the modes of existence of things like 'humans' and 'cars' with things like 'numbers' and some other concepts as they are used in science.[1]

    In epistemology, pluralism is the position that there is not one consistent means of approaching truths about the world, but rather many. Often this is associated with pragmatism, or conceptual, contextual, or cultural relativism.

    In logic, pluralism is the view that there is no one correct logic, or alternatively, that there is more than one correct logic.[2] One may, for instance, believe that classical logic is the correct logic generally, but believe that paraconsistent logic is the correct logic for dealing with certain paradoxes. However, there are different versions of logical pluralism depending on what one believes 'logic' to be and what it means for a logical system to be 'correct'.
  • Wayfarer
    7.8k
    I think some form of pluralism is unavoidable in a globalised culture; it just seems inescapable to me.

    But I think there’s a cultural issue that’s behind the question you’re wrestling with. This is basically the Christian attitude of the ‘one God’ - and a jealous god, at that - and then Christ being the only way (‘I am the truth, the light, the way, no-one comes to the Father but by me’). You can add to this the early Christian dogma, ‘extra ecclesia nulla sallus’, meaning ‘no salvation outside the Church’. It all adds up to there being the One True Church, outside of which all are condemned. I think this was amplified, if anything, by the influence of Protestantism and especially Reformed Theology.

    The issue is, it creates a worldview for which there is no room for dissent. To be a believer is to buy the package, recite the creed, and believe the dogma. There’s no room for questioning, which is regarded as the absence of faith or a falling-away or the work of Satan.

    You could argue that this is the kind of attitude that is most likely to propagate succesfully, because it discourages individual interpretation, and encourages conformity. Believers are very easy to manage, practically by definition. It’s no coincidence that the Christian church speaks in terms of sheep and flocks.

    I suppose fundamentalists of all religions will always see the world this way, but there are alternative readings. Philosophically, the statement ‘I am the truth’ can be read to say that Christ is the truth, as distinct from falsehood; so it’s not a contrast between Christianity and some other religion, but between truth and falsehood. ‘I am the truth’ is referring to an actual living truth, not this religion as distinct from that one. Read this way, the followers of other faiths follow the same truth, because it is, after all, truth, not this or that religious icon.

    Thinking along these lines, there have always been some pluralists in Christian and other traditions. They see the various faiths as variations of the ‘perennial philosophy’ (although it’s true that this attitude is far more characteristic in India than in the West.) But it’s colloquially understood as the ‘many paths up the mountain’ approach - there is only one mountain, but many ways of climbing it - when climbing it, the paths may be a long way apart, but they converge on the summit. Take it with a grain of salt, but there’s also a grain of truth in it.

    I’ll tell you a really interesting and worthwhile philosopher of religion, for a serious student like yourself. That is an English writer, not long deceased, by the name of John Hick. He was a lifelong Christian but was a recognised voice for religious pluralism after his experience in Birmingham early in his career. There’s a very good introductory on him here http://www.iep.utm.edu/hick/ . Also his God has Many Names
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    So, I'm a pluralist. I'm also not a relativist... But, I have entertained the idea of pluralism in regards to truth.anonymous66

    Pluralism but not relativism seems to make the most sense to me as well.

    The "subject/object" divide is always tricky, and also erroneous, I think. Obviously, if the different paths all lead to the same mountain peak, then the peak is "objective" in the sense of it being singular; we don't magically arrive at a plurality of mountain peaks while scaling the same mountain; we arrive at a singular peak. So you could view the subject/object dichotomy this way; the travelers on their paths up the mountain are subjects, moving towards the object; the peak. This is helpful, because, rather than, for instance, Christianity being the "one true faith", it's the peak itself which is the "one true". The Christian faith is one of several paths which lead to the "the one true".

    Or is it the case that there is one "correct" view of reality (that has no basis in religion) and that we should all accept that "correct" view of reality?anonymous66

    And to emphasize what I'm trying to say, the "view of reality" has nothing to do with objectivity; so the concept of one view being objectively right is misguided. Again, what's objective is the goal. The view is, quite literally, the viewpoint from which the goal is seen; I see it from my corner of the internet, you see it from yours; my view isn't the correct one, nor is yours, but what's important is that we're viewing the objective goal as best we can.
  • anonymous66
    626
    @Wayfarer & Noble Dust
    Thank you for those comments. Much appreciated. (I just ordered God Has Many Names).
    I always thought Jesus displayed a pluralistic view of religion in the way he dealt with the Samaritan women at the well.
    On second thought, I just read the story again.. Maybe not.
    The woman said to him, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us." Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking to you."
  • Yajur
    31

    I think the fact that there exists religious pluralism kind of discredits every religion itself. Think about it, if you had been born and raised elsewhere, you would have had different religious beliefs. If our founding belief and faith seems so arbitrary it makes question if you can really know wether your religious beliefs are true.

    Look at the following argument for instance:
    1. Your religious beliefs were instilled in you from childhood.
    2. Therefore, your religious beliefs were not formed sensitively, or safely, or are at best true by accident.
    3. Therefore, you don’t really know that your religious beliefs are true.

    A belief is formed insensitively when the belief is false but you still choose to believe it. It is unsafely when you could have just as easily believed a false fact with the same reasoning. And it is unjust when despite the evidence you prefer to live in the lie.

    Peoples strong beliefs can be defined by cognitive biases likeConfirmation Bias; tendency to search for , interpret and confirm ones's preconception, Endowment Effect; tendency of people to hold onto their value than adopt new ones despite the evidence or Sunk Cost Fallacy; placin the disutility of giving up ones faith higher than the utility of acquiring a new one.
  • Josh Alfred
    110
    In my opinion they should be coexistent. The universe is an integral system made of parts. Its monist and pluralistic.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.6k
    It also seems to me that relativism is meaningless, so objectivity wins out over relativism.anonymous66

    Hmm, it seems to me that the objective world is relative.

    But will there ever be a way to completely describe reality as we know it?anonymous66

    Descriptions have a psychological component. Something only counts as a description if someone is psychologically satisfied that the putative description works as a description.
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