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  1. #1
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    Default What's your take on absolute truth?

    I don't think this topic has been discussed here yet, but if it has, sorry...please disregard.

    This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, and in the end I have come to the conclusion that there is a need for absolute truth, because if absolute truth does not exist, then what standard do we live by?

    Sure, I could say that "I live by my own standards and morals," but that is really just saying, "Hey, I can do whatever I want because it's right for me." There is absolutely no accountability or standardization of right and wrong....it's all relative. So basically, following with that line of thought, everything should be permissable given certain circumstances.

    Yet, I find it amazing that once "our own standards and morals" are violated by someone else we are the first to appeal to a higher authority by saying, "Hey, that's not fair/right." For example, you've been waiting patiently in the post office line for the last 10 mintues, you are the next one to be helped when all of a sudden some guy just breezes in to the post office and totally cuts you (and everyone behind you) off. Chances are, you or someone else is gonna tell that person to get in the back and wait their turn. But what if he responds, "Well, I'm late for work, and getting to work on time is more important than waiting in line so I'm sure you all won't mind if I just go next." Well, this guy has no problem cutting in line, because he puts his own needs/wants in front of everyone else's. If what is right and wrong is truly relative then you really have no authority to tell the man to get to the back of the line, right?

    To me, relative truth seems like a catch 22. What do you think? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    I don't think that there is an absolute right and wrong. We do what we want and society (or other people) create consequences. The things we view as morally "right" are typically the things that benefit society as a whole, rather than just the individual.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  3. #3
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    So it's society (or other people) that says it's wrong for a husband to beat his wife into submission? If society said it's perfectly ok for husbands to be abusive towards their wives, then it's ok?

    I just can't believe that life is a free-for-all where we do what we want and only come up against consequences because of what society deems acceptable. Even if it was just me and one other person in existence (as in, no society, therefore no consequences or accountability) and I started beating the other person to death just because I felt like it that still does not make it acceptable.

  4. #4
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    There are absolute truths and absolute morality in some circumstances, but not all. One must be able to recognize a situation in which the latter is true.

  5. #5
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    What would be the source of this absolute truth/morality? God? Even if one does exist why should I care what it says? Is it that something “just is” right or wrong? How is that?

    I don’t have a problem with relative or subjective morality. No one wants to be killed, raped, beaten, robbed, etc, so we punish murder, rape, assault, theft, etc. Society says it’s wrong for husbands to beat their wives because no one wants to be beaten.

    At least in this part of the world, go to some Islamic hell hole and it’s another story. Islam’s absolute morality says it’s ok to beat women. Both Islam’s and Christianity’s god given morality command some horrible things and prohibit others which are perfectly healthy and harmless. No one has ever ran into a police station crying for help because someone else drank alcohol, smoked weed, had unmarried or non hetero sex, or committed any other victimless crime. So any kind of divinely revealed morality is right out.

    I don’t see how you could institute a system of absolute morality. There’s no authority to command it. Things should be wrong because they are demonstrably harmful to others.

  6. #6
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recoleta View Post
    So it's society (or other people) that says it's wrong for a husband to beat his wife into submission? If society said it's perfectly ok for husbands to be abusive towards their wives, then it's ok?
    It has been in many cultures for centures. Do I think it's good? No, but that doesn't mean that there is a mystic rule that declares it to be so.

    I just can't believe that life is a free-for-all where we do what we want and only come up against consequences because of what society deems acceptable. Even if it was just me and one other person in existence (as in, no society, therefore no consequences or accountability) and I started beating the other person to death just because I felt like it that still does not make it acceptable.
    In your opinion. Then again, you were brought up in this society, as was I. What makes it unacceptable? Is a human life worth more than an animal life or a plant life? If so, why?

    edit to add: It's not ok for us to kill, but it's ok for the government to kill. Does the absolute truth make it so?
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  7. #7
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    I believe in an absolute morality. But I also believe we cannot fully fathom/understand it. We can only do our best to try to approximate it. So depending on our angle of study, absolute morality will be like the fabled elephant: it will look like a tree, or a snake, or whatever.

    Even relative morality is an approximation of the absolute morality, IMO: it's grasping at the truth that absolute morality is not linearly aligned with our human mind and world. Absolute morality *does* lead to different moral codes depending on the human circumstances one lives in.

    That's my take on it.

  8. #8
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recoleta View Post
    This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, and in the end I have come to the conclusion that there is a need for absolute truth, because if absolute truth does not exist, then what standard do we live by?
    That is actually a logical fallacy called an "appeal to the consequences of a belief." An example would be:

    "God must exist! If God did not exist, then all basis for morality would be lost and the world would be a horrible place!"

    Sure, I could say that "I live by my own standards and morals," but that is really just saying, "Hey, I can do whatever I want because it's right for me." There is absolutely no accountability or standardization of right and wrong....it's all relative. So basically, following with that line of thought, everything should be permissable given certain circumstances.
    If you are arguing against moral relativism, then it's determined the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. That's actually how it is. The "absolute" truths you are arguing for are only defined by human beings. They are defined in books written by humans, such as the Bible, or political philosophies written by humans, such as the Constitution, or in sciences defined by human measurement scales, such as physics. They are ultimately defined by the perceptions of human beings, and subject to the changing of those perceptions.
    Yet, I find it amazing that once "our own standards and morals" are violated by someone else we are the first to appeal to a higher authority by saying, "Hey, that's not fair/right." For example, you've been waiting patiently in the post office line for the last 10 mintues, you are the next one to be helped when all of a sudden some guy just breezes in to the post office and totally cuts you (and everyone behind you) off. Chances are, you or someone else is gonna tell that person to get in the back and wait their turn. But what if he responds, "Well, I'm late for work, and getting to work on time is more important than waiting in line so I'm sure you all won't mind if I just go next." Well, this guy has no problem cutting in line, because he puts his own needs/wants in front of everyone else's. If what is right and wrong is truly relative then you really have no authority to tell the man to get to the back of the line, right?
    Culturally defined morals and ethics usually supersede personally defined ones. Thats just the reality of majority rules.

    To me, relative truth seems like a catch 22. What do you think? I'd like to hear your thoughts.
    Not at all, I would say absolute truth only exists in the human mind.

  9. #9
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    I would like to break it down to the essentials (imo).

    It is all about survival. Strength is in numbers. We don't want to kill our neighbors because that eliminates our collective strength...just like we don't steal from them or rape them. The weak pay to the strong, and acquire discipline in the form of morals, in exchange for protection. That's all that government really is. The strong make the rules and we follow them or we lose the strength of the nation/culture.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  10. #10
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    there is no absolute truth.

    what you can do, though, is define a frame and draw true conclusions inside of the frame. for example, in the physics frame, F=ma. so you can observe an event (from a physics perspective), get the force and mass, and extrapolate acceleration. but you can't do that same thing in any random frame.

    ethics is a much harder task, though, since each person has their own frame with their own principles, and we can't automatically see where they overlap. so one thing can be "justified" for one person and "evil" for another.

    it's all about your set of assumptions.

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