• Gregory
    1.1k
    If everything is relative, than everything is crooked and there is no truth about what a person is, what he has done, and what he deserves. The world would therefore be entirely abstract and meaningless if there was no objective truth. Is this enough to prove relativism wrong?
  • Gregory
    1.1k
    I think I'm basically saying morality disproves relativism
  • Isaac
    2.5k
    The world would therefore be entirely abstract and meaningless if there was no objective truth. Is this enough to prove relativism wrong?Gregory

    Why would our beliefs need to be objectively true in order for them to have meaning?
  • zookeeper
    68
    The world would therefore be entirely abstract and meaningless if there was no objective truth.Gregory

    Objectively, it is. But I wouldn't know anything about that.
  • Judaka
    610

    Objective truth is just an epistemological position, it's a statement about your requirements for certainty or our collective requirements for certainty. This applies to "objective meaning" as well... if you believe in such a thing.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    If everything is relative, than everything is crooked and there is no truth about what a person is, what he has done, and what he deserves. The world would therefore be entirely abstract and meaningless if there was no truth. Is this enough to prove relativism wrong?Gregory

    Notice that the OP says pretty much the same thing, even though I removed the word Objective.

    How's that?
  • Kenosha Kid
    559
    If everything is relative, than everything is crooked and there is no truth about what a person is, what he has done, and what he deserves. The world would therefore be entirely abstract and meaningless if there was no objective truth. Is this enough to prove relativism wrong?Gregory

    If all houses are just bricks, and no one can live in a brick, everyone would be homeless. Does this prove houses are not made from bricks?
  • tilda-psychist
    53
    If everything is relative, than everything is crooked and there is no truth about what a person is, what he has done, and what he deserves. The world would therefore be entirely abstract and meaningless if there was no objective truth. Is this enough to prove relativism wrong?Gregory

    you are correct on this. Atheism and post-modernism really are at odds with each other even though somehow some Atheists feel the need to be post-modernists. Are you familiar with Noah Harrari's book "Sapiens"? If you don't feel like reading the 1st 4 or 5 chapters then check out some of his youtube videos.
  • fishfry
    1.5k
    If everything is relative, than everything is crooked and there is no truth about what a person is, what he has done, and what he deserves. The world would therefore be entirely abstract and meaningless if there was no objective truth. Is this enough to prove relativism wrong?Gregory

    You're not following the news lately? There's no truth. There's just the mob, backed by spineless and complicit politicians. This won't end well.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    How's that?Banno

    So I'll answer my own question. It's truth that is important, not objectivity.
  • Judaka
    610

    All you did was make OP's post more ambiguous.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    98
    He removed a redundancy. There is no use to any distinction between "objective" and any other sort of truth, since all you've done is distinguish truth from something else (i.e. not-truth).
  • Judaka
    610

    OP distinguished objective truth from subjective truth? Which is significant since creating your own truth is the heart of relativism.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    No, I removed a source of ambiguity.

    Edit: Cheers,
  • Enai De A Lukal
    98
    But since there isn't any other sort of truth besides "objective" truth, this is not a useful distinction and only serves to muddy the water. Better to eliminate the redundant "objective" label and just talk about truth.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    He distinguished objective truth from subjective truth?Judaka

    The distinction between objective and subjective truth breaks down on analysis. What can be maintained is a distinction between objective and subjective justification.

    A better approach to ridding ourselves of relativism is found in dismissing the notion of incommensurate descriptions. Truth is not bound to particular conceptual schemes, but rather is what allows us to compare them one to the other.

    The grain of truth in the OP is that it is truth that allows us to determine which descriptions are wrong.
  • Judaka
    610

    What is objective justification?

    What do you think OP is arguing for and against?

    @Enai De A Lukal

    You can answer too, what do you think OP is arguing for and against?
  • Banno
    8.4k
    What is objective justification?Judaka

    That I prefer vanilla is justified subjectively. The answer to "why do you prefer vanilla" can be "I just do".

    Objective justifications can be contrasted to this. That Hydrogen is flammable is not subject to my preference.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    What do you think OP is arguing for and against?Judaka

    The OP is arguing that relativism is muddled. I agree. Our discussions about the world would indeed be entirely meaningless if there was no truth. That some statements are true is what allows us to talk to each other, roughly speaking, by matching the someone's utterances to one's beliefs - by triangulating the utterance, beliefs, and the truth.
  • Judaka
    610

    I am pretty sure OP is talking about moral relativism and objective morality.

    If everything is relative, than everything is crooked and there is no truth about what a person is, what he has done, and what he deserves. The world would therefore be entirely abstract and meaningless if there was no objective truth. Is this enough to prove relativism wrong?Gregory

    "There is no truth about what a person is, what he has done, and what he deserves"

    He then goes onto clarify.

    "The world would be therefore entirely abstract and meaningless if there was no objective truth".

    It seems fair to read this as "there is an objective truth about what a person deserves" which is a very different statement from "there is a truth about what a person deserves". Do you disagree?

    @Enai De A Lukal

    I could be wrong about what OP is saying but if I'm not then his entire argument is about objective truth in morality and the meaning of objective here is that it is not dependant upon the opinions of people. How can that be the same as just saying "truth" when it can be used in contexts where it is dependant upon people? Isn't this clarified by the word "objective"? Hence ambiguity is added without "objective" where it wasn't before.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    98
    I take the OP to be arguing that relativism in general is refuted by its implication of moral relativism (though its a bit ambiguous). I'm just agreeing with Banno that "relative/subjective truth" is essentially an oxymoron in this context and "objective truth" a redundancy, and so its better to just dispense with the objective vs. subjective/relative truth distinction and talk about truth. I really can't think of anything substantive that would be lost by doing so, and it would eliminate what is a common source of controversy/confusion.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    It seems fair to read this as "there is an objective truth about what a person deserves" which is a very different statement from "there is a truth about what a person deserves". Do you disagree?Judaka

    Yeah, I disagree. If you deserve some specified consequence, then it is true that you deserve it. Nothng is gained by adding that you objectively deserve it.

    It's a pedantic point; but that's what we do here.
  • Judaka
    610

    Moral relativism says that the "truth" about the consequence being deserved is subjective and objective morality says that the "truth" is an absolute and unquestionable fact. It is the same distinction that you made between a preference for vanilla as opposed to hydrogen being flammable. With the minor point that subjective morality isn't simply a preference.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    98
    I think your take on the OP's argument is correct (at least, its consistent with my own interpretation), but I would submit that it remains the same argument if you simply take out the word "objective". If something is "dependent upon the opinions of people" then you're talking about consensus (or popular opinion, or something like this), not truth.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    I don't know where to go with this. You've framed the discussion in terms of subjective/objective truths in morality, and I have shown that that distinction is ineffectual.

    Better to set out moral relativism as holding that moral truths are relative to some given opinion. It avoids considerable philosophical baggage.
  • Gregory
    1.1k
    Wow, lots of posts. I was considering in this thread how we feel bound by moral feelings. All of us. What we choose in those situations sets up our karma. If everything is relative and truth doesn't exists, what happens to the truth of one's karma? What does one have at the end of the day than that? Doesn't denial of the reality of truth then take every from us? It seems almost like a punishment for bad karma for truth to become relative
  • Judaka
    610

    I'm not talking about consensus, you can read below for clarification.


    I don't see a need to "rid ourselves" of relativism and I'm not trying to do that. I don't really see what you've done besides replacing terms. If you see the distinction between "objective and subjective justifications" then you see my distinction between "objective and subjective truth". I think my nomenclature is standard and I've never heard of yours.

    I don't really know what you mean by saying that "set out moral relativism as holding that moral truths are relative to some given opinion".
  • Banno
    8.4k
    I don't really know what you mean by saying that "set out moral relativism as holding that moral truths are relative to some given opinion".Judaka

    That seems to be the usage on Stanford and IEP, much as one ought not appeal to authority. It's the view that morality is merely the opinion of this or that group.
  • Isaac
    2.5k
    If something is "dependent upon the opinions of people" then you're talking about consensus (or popular opinion, or something like this), not truth.Enai De A Lukal

    But isn't this what the whole issue hinges on, and therefore removing it would re-frame the problem? Take the quest for the Holy Grail - I could define The Holy Grail as the cup from which Christ drank before the crucifixion (I think), but that definition has nothing to do with my ability to recognise it when I see it. The definition used to tell whether my quest for the Holy Grail has been satisfactory must be an algorithm I can apply to any given cup, the output of which will tell me if it is The Holy Grail. Since I can't directly check if it's the cup from which Christ drank before the crucifixion, this is a useless definition for me. I need something more like "It has six rubies around it which glow in the dark" or some such, so that I can apply that test to all the cups I find. I can't think of a test that can be applied to propositions or beliefs to see if they are true propositions or beliefs that does not involve consensus, thus making 'truth' de facto consensus-based.
  • Judaka
    610

    I'm fine with that just haven't heard it put exactly as you have.

    It's not about saying you "objectively" deserve it, it's about saying this claim about deserving it goes into the "I prefer vanilla" subjective category or the "hydrogen is inflammable" objective category because they have different implications. That's what is being said when one talks about "objective morality", that it's not an opinion or subject to context but an immutable fact that applies to all.

    What else would be the alternatives besides moral relativism if not claiming morality has elements of objective truth?
  • bongo fury
    469
    A better approach to ridding ourselves of relativism is found in dismissing the notion of incommensurate descriptions. Truth is not bound to particular conceptual schemes, but rather is what allows us to compare them one to the other.

    The grain of truth in the OP is that it is truth that allows us to determine which descriptions are wrong.
    Banno

    Alternatively, to see the truth of relativism, notice that truth is relative to conceptual schemes or discourses, but that these are fictions that need weaving from smaller ones and joining into bigger ones.

    The grain of truth in the OP is that truth is how we define the consistency we demand in the weaving and joining.
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