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Featured Relativism - A truly interesting discussion

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by firedragon, Oct 28, 2021.

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  1. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Well. Relativism can in a very very simplistic manner be read out as "no objectivity".

    This is a whole world of full of various relativist branches ranging from ethics, human rights, religion, social sciences, cultural studies, human resource management to values. Some people argue for objectivity knowing relativism maybe because of duty or an ought, and the same thing will apply to relativists in the vice versa scenario.

    What is your position, why and what is your source of knowledge?
     
  2. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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  3. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    I'm a scientist* and hold to the first axiom of science: the universe is real. (I.e. things in reality exist objectively.)
    But once we leave reality pretty much everything else is at best intersubjective and relative (except, maybe, Platonic ideals).

    (* not as a profession, but in so far as I hold to the axioms of science and as I think that the scientific method is the best epistemology we have.)
     
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  4. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    As someone trained in science, I am aware that what science does is to make mere models of reality, none of which may be totally accurate. But to do that, one has to believe there is an objective reality to model. The process of doing science relies on reproducible observation of nature, which is a way of getting at what we can all agree is the case, in other words objective information about the world. If there were no objective reality, I do not see how we could ever do that.

    Having said that, there do seem to be aspects of observation of nature which depend on the observer's situation. That is true for instance in relativity in physics and in the relational interpretation of quantum mechanics. But that does not preclude there being an objective reality, I think. It is just that one needs to know from what aspect one is viewing it, in order to draw the right conclusions as to what one should expect to observe.

    In other disciplines, one has to be careful. I think what we have learned in the last century - partly inspired by the new importance of relativity in science, actually - is that it is a mistake to jump to the conclusion that a thing is absolute, when in fact our own view of it is conditioned by our cultural background etc., and actually it depends again on the person's viewpoint. However as with science, I do not believe that means that everything has to be purely relative and that there is nothing objective.

    A fortiori, I do not think recognising relativity means that every person's view of something has equal validity. There are still sound views and unsound - or stupid - ones. ;)
     
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  5. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Well, I will do it short. There is only limited objectivity possible for some aspects of the everyday world and there is no set of or no single methodology(ies) that objectively can only produce positive and correct answers for all of the everyday world.

    It is simple to test in practice:
    Someone: I can do everything objectively in effect.
    Me: I can't! I can do some things objectively, not but everything. Everything is the combination of objective elements and subjective ones and even that is too simple.

    Now for knowledge I do the same as the redundancy theory of truth. I don't claim knowledge, I just do that which appears to work.

    There is off course more, but the crude test is if we can act differently for similar cases. :)
     
  6. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    But as far as I can tell objective reality is only a part of the everyday world. ;)
     
  7. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    I think we are agreeing. I am arguing that the subjective is indeed very important, but that not everything is subjective.
     
  8. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    How would you prove scientific relativism through the scientific method?
     
  9. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Here is the fun one:
    I have the correct subjective version of understanding the relevant words and that is what matters to me subjectively and thus allows me to define my subjectivity as objective as relevant for all humans for all cases. And you can't do it, because I am the correct subjectivity for objectivity. ;) :D

    I know that one in effect in a limited sense works in both directions, but some people don't get that.
     
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  10. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Isn't relativity in science, objective in nature?
     
  11. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Nor is everything objective, so I do think we agree.
     
  12. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    How do you understand the word "sun"?
     
  13. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    I do believe in an objective reality, because to think otherwise would be a solipsism and I don’t wish to plunge down that rabbit hole; but our experience of reality can only ever be subjective. The idea that we can neutrally observe the universe as it would appear were we not observing it, is ruled out by quantum contextuality; the act of observation is in itself an interaction which affects the observation.

    It may just be that shared idealism, such as the Platonic ideal of perfect form mentioned by @Heyo above, is in fact the only objective reality which we can visualise perfectly, and share with each other.

    That would make the one objective truth a transcendent reality, which is itself an abstraction. This, rather satisfyingly in my opinion, chimes with certain verses in the Tao te Ching. To followers of Abrahamic religions, this may be expressed by saying that God is implicit within, but exists beyond, time and space. Those who don’t believe in any God may fairly claim that none is necessary; and in the sense that no God is necessary to explain the universe, that would be a justifiable perspective.
     
    #13 RestlessSoul, Oct 28, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2021
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  14. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    So your whole knowledge stems from observation of peoples results or what people say? What if they are noncognitivists?
     
  15. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    As a word that refers to something I treat as an objective experience.

    Technical note. There are 4 versions of solipsism and I functionally only use 2. But in the end it is methodology as per skepticism versus foundationalism in epistemology.
     
  16. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    So your knowledge comes from claims?
     
  17. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Please explain more.
     
  18. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Ah. So its methodological approach, not that its your epistemic truth bearer.
     
  19. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Yeah, and I know I will get flak for this. My understanding is what works for me. And in that you and I are real, but I don't know it. It only apparently works.
     
  20. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    I'm not claiming any knowledge, I'm offering a point of view.

    What little I do claim to know about anything, I can offer sources for, but that didn't seem to me to be the point of your original question.
     
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