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Putting aside for a moment the idea of quantum entanglement, as of now, we know that you cannot physically be both in Spain and America at the same time. This is an absolute. We know that you cannot physically be standing up and sitting down at the same time. This is also an absolute. Therefore, we know that absolutes exist. But is it possible for life to have within it both absolutes and relativity? As all experience comes to us through our senses, and as all individuals are unique, our opinions are often subjective (e.g., based on perception, context, values, knowledge, bias). For example, words have meanings, but they can have different meanings. Therefore, things can often appear relative to us as well. If reality is not dependent upon the senses and represents things as they really are, does that make absolutism "better" than relativism? Why is it even important to figure out/solve the debate of absolutism vs. relativism? Can one position (i.e., absolutism or relativism) be considered "better" than another? Does it really matter if absolutes exist? If absolutes don't exist, how can you negate absolutism without being logically inconsistent?


Nowadays, relativism is a philosophy acclaimed by many; they defend it as a natural human truth and develop a way of living based on it. Whenever I hear or read a relativist, I feel the profound wish to explain the contradictory basis and the harmful consequences of this philosophy so that more people may understand what its defense implies...

Based on the path we take toward truth - absolutism or relativism - we will obtain completely different answers... For a philosophy to be valid, it must be non-contradictory; that is, it must be consistent with its own proposal. ...relativists defend their theory as an absolute. But if we accept it as correct, they are claiming a relative assumption. Relativists claim that truth lies in the individual's perception; however, they are claiming it as an absolute; yet, at the same time, they are claiming that absolutes don't exist. Therefore, it is a contradiction.

Contrast this with absolutism. It doesn't have any contradiction in this respect. Absolutists claim that truth lies in reality, and reality is objective (i.e., not based on personal bias). They defend this assumption as an absolute, acknowledging that they can prove it through objective facts/observable phenomena.

Another important point to consider is the self-sufficiency of reality in order to determine which theory is accurate. Reality, in-and-of-itself, is self-sufficient. What does that mean? It means that reality exists as a whole, regardless our own capacity to understand and determine it. For example: a person in a coma can't consciously perceive reality and, therefore, can't establish any definition of it.

But does reality stop existing when someone is in a coma? Certainly not. If it stopped existing, there wouldn't be hospitals to take care of this person, nor doctors, nor any factor of reality. This proves that truth comes from objective facts. The human capability to acknowledge truth lies in the recognition of reality, and this process is part of the objective aspect of existence...

Also consider it from this perspective - who would you rather build the airplane you fly in, for example? A scientist who knows the absolutes of math or someone who believes whatever he wants to believe?

...Now that we know that relativism is not a consistent philosophy, why do so many people support it? Why is it so popular?

I think the defense of relativism lies basically in a voluntary refusal to see or acknowledge reality (aka intellectual dependence). When people are allowed to get away with belief systems without suffering the consequences of those beliefs, relativism flourishes. Take socialism as an example. Socialists believe that they can ignore the laws of economics. So long as socialists can live on the backs of others who produce, they won't have to suffer the consequences of their belief systems. That is, until everyone dies.

Absolutism vs. relativism - is truth subjective?


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Feb 27, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=486

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