Re: MD Is Morality Relative?

Date: Tue Dec 07 2004 - 02:02:48 GMT

  • Next message: Ron Winchester: "RE: MD Simplification"

    Happy Holidays, Platt, Erin, and all
    (And that includes Christmas for the politically incorrect!)

    I sense some frustration in your recent exchange with Erin, part of which

    > > What the heck is "charge of the
    > > absolutes" , is there an absolute police or something---if you believe
    > > there are absolutes please list them. If you believe the MOQ should not
    > > taken as provisional say so.
    > Beginning the list of absolutes:
    > 1. I'm absolutely certain the MOQ should be taken as provisional.
    > 2. I'm absolutely certain someone believes there are no absolutes.
    > 3. I'm absolutely certain someone wrote, "If a paragraph ever had a Platt
    > essence this would be it."
    > Anyway, what IS your problem with absolutes? Are you not certain of
    > anything? Your name, perhaps? Or that two bodies can't occupy the same
    > space at the same time? Or that someday you are going to die?
    > Will someone please explain why the word "absolute" is considered to be
    > anathema?

    Let me try to answer that in my own simple way, Platt.

    Most of us were raised under "absolutist" rules. "Don't touch that." "Don't
    walk on the grass." "Eat your spinach." Absolute authority is
    intimidating, and we tend to react negatively to it. I started school when
    my mother was in the hospital delivering a baby sister. I had only one
    concept of school: it was a place where one had to obey the teacher. I was
    shown to a desk by old Ms. Hillman -- a gray-haired spinster who had now
    become my absolute authority. Everyone was quietly occupied cutting rabbits
    out of brown paper. I knew I was required to do the same. On my desk were
    paper and scissors. I had never held a pair of scissors in my hand before,
    nor cut out a paper pattern. It was terrifying, but I had to do what
    authority demanded. So I did.

    God represents that kind of authority if you grew up Catholic or are
    religiously inclined. "Thou shalt not" is an absolute mandate no matter
    what follows it. When we become adults we are usually able to "put away
    childish things"; yet many of us cling to them. When we grow up and
    formulate our own morality system, there's a residual voice of authority
    that seems to be telling us what we "ought" or "ought not" do. The Unknown
    holds that power over us. None of us knows the length of our days or what
    lies beyond. None of us knows how we should decide or act in a given
    situation. But back of it all is the notion that there is a "right" and a
    "wrong", and that we are held accountable.

    I think much of philosophy is authoritative because it addresses the Unknown
    in postulates and axioms that seem to be absolutes. And there's your
    "anathema". It forces us to separate truth from speculation and try to
    fathom just what absolutes there are. In the sense that you and I believe
    in an Absolute Source (call it Quality or Essence), we are "absolutists". I
    see this discussion as a debate about the point (or level) at which man
    partakes of the Absolute. It is not-- at least it shouldn't be--an argument
    between believers and non-believers.

    To seems to me that we have the capacity to realize the Absolute through our
    experience of its Value. This realization comes to us by way of our
    sensibility, which is closer to "intuition" than to rational intelligence or
    empirical knowledge. In your list of absolutes above, I would cite "There
    is an Absolute" as no.1, followed by a corollary that "Existence is
    relative". Even a physical law or mathematical "truth" is relative to
    existence. If "existence is relative" is an absolute truth, as I'm
    inclined to believe, it follows that morality is relative. (By "morality" I
    of course refer to the term as commonly applied to human behavior.) Do you
    see a conflict in being philosophically absolutist and morally relativistic?
    If this constitutes a logical contradiction, then my concept of the
    immutability of the Absolute is flawed. But I don't think so.


    Essentially yours,

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