Relativism

So, relativism. By this I mean truth relativism, the belief that truth is dependent on individuals and that objective truth does not exist. If a person believes that people have souls, then that person would be making a true statement if he says, “People have souls.” But if the guy sitting next to him does not believe it, then he also would be making a true statement if he says, “People have no souls.” It sounds a bit crazy that you could believe that they are both right, but a lot of postmodernism is based on this idea.

The law of non-contradiction would seem to immediately rule out this situation, because two contradictory statements are said. However the law states that the proposition must be said in the same sense. The relativist could argue that they are not in the same sense because two different people are saying them, which makes them both true. The dogmatic relativist could also say that the law of non-contradiction is not true for him, so who cares if they contradict. But just ignore the people who casually claim to reject the laws of logic and math, they don’t know what they are talking about even more than me. But the first argument does have some weight.

Anyway, on to the real problem with it. A relativist will say, “It is absolutely true that nothing is absolutely true.” It is self-defeating. If I believe that things are absolutely true, then he will have to concede that my belief is true since I believe it. But since my belief is true, his belief cannot true. It cannot be true! It is literally impossible to be a true belief. So the question remains, why do some people still believe in it?

Well, for one people are just dumb. They don’t realize this inherent contradiction because people don’t show it to them and they don’t think about it themselves. However it has been around for a very long time, the Sophists in the 5th century BC believed in it.

Second, it is easy to say, “What is true for you is not true for me,” as a way to escape confrontation and admitting you are wrong. It’s convenient. If nobody can be wrong about anything they believe, then you are right about everything you believe. That is an attractive thought.

Finally, I think it is partially due to frustration over the disagreement among experts in pretty much every field, especially philosophy. I honestly can’t think of a single philosophical question that has been closed. I mean, skeptics have brought themselves to doubt even that they themselves exist, so I can’t imagine there is a closed question. And this is very frustrating. If even the top experts of the day cannot agree, how will I know what is true? If you just reject the idea of objective truth altogether, viola! All these problems go away, all the experts hold different beliefs because they are all right. Then you can simply choose which one to believe and you’ll be right.

I guess that’ll do. Relativism is dumb, don’t believe in it. I feel like I should say more, but I can’t think of anything. Oh wellz. Hopefully I’ll get better at this the more I do it.

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