Re: MD Re: Is Morality relative?

From: Phaedrus Wolff (
Date: Sun Dec 12 2004 - 18:14:11 GMT

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    Platt) -- "Possibly there are no absolutes" is asserted as as absolute
    There's no escape.

    Hi Platt,

    How do we know an absolute? If it is through the senses, and taste being a
    strong sense, and by itself would offer us an absolute, then how could you
    explain a blindfolded man eating something that tastes as if it were
    something else that the nose smells? It seems even the senses can confuse us
    to absolutes. If I take a drink of Cabernet Sauvignon, and it is pleasant to
    the senses of smell and taste and sight, and wifey takes a drink from the
    same glass and it is repulsive, who's absolute is true?

    Could it be true that all of our senses could be extended out to the same
    confusion between the observers of the experience? A person who comes across
    a stick in the woods and sees, smells, or feels a snake, would be insane to
    a person who sees, smells, or feels a stick. The only sane answer to what it
    is would be what it really is, which in reality, one of them would have to
    be wrong.

    If one person sees things differently than another person, or a group of
    people see things differently than another group of people, then there is,
    and at the same time, there is not an absolute.

    One of your examples was death. If death is an absolute certainty, then
    those who say death is a result of disease, and we can cure the diseases
    that cause death, and we can live a life of both mind and substance that
    stills the aging process, then it becomes possible that death is not an
    absolute at all, but only prior experiences would claim death as an
    absolute. If they are not in agreement with us, we only have historical
    experience to depend on, and history is constantly changing in ways that
    prove our experiences to be misleading.

    For the moment, I would agree that death is an absolute, but I cannot know
    that this will always hold true, even though any reasonable man should think
    so. When you move this life and death beyond the realm of physical
    experience, then life can also not even be considered an absolute, in that
    we neither live or die except in the physical world we are capable of
    sensing around us. Is it possible we could change all this just by thinking
    it was something different? I can't say.

    This is beyond the physical and psychological realms of our current
    knowledge, but if it were only our current knowledge that determines
    absolutes, then there would no need for philosophy or science as we would
    already know everything there is to know.

    So, at least personally, I must deny any absolutes, as I know I cannot know
    anything except in the realm of faith that it will not change to be
    something entirely different.

    If we are speaking of absolutes as current, then yes everything around me,
    including this computer I am typing on is an absolute; there is nothing but
    absolutes. Everything is absolute, and there is not reason to question -- in
    fact anyone who does must be insane. Therefore, I must be insane as these
    thoughts that are going through my head do not fit the current mythos of the

    May not mean anything, but it was fun to write. :o)

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Platt Holden" <>
    To: <>; <>
    Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2004 8:44 AM
    Subject: Re: MD Re: Is Morality relative?

    > Hi Erin:
    > > PLATT: Absolute moral laws are meant to apply universally to all
    > > decisions made by men. You can argue, as some have, that moral laws are
    > > contextual in that they apply ONLY to men. Pirsig, however, proposes
    > > there are universal moral laws that not only apply to everything , but
    > > the foundation of everything. His basic universal moral absolute is
    > > things are better than others" including things that were around long
    > > before man appeared on the scene.
    > >
    > > ERIN: So absolute is only refering to who/what the law applies to, it
    > > not also implying that it has always been and always will be a law?
    > Yes.
    > > On a more serious note when looking at the absolutes people have given
    > > I noticed that the only one that really helps in making moral
    > > choices/decisions is that "some things are better than others." But I
    > > notice that this is very vague and leaves open the door for context. The
    > > others, math problems, paying taxes, names----- they may be absolutes
    > > to me they don't give very much guidance in making a moral decision/
    > > choice. I understand that to be open to DQ you can't list out moral
    > > absolutes for moral choices and decisions, so what I wasn't expecting
    > > just seeing if you would call my bluff. The fact that you were not able
    > > (except for some things are better than others) makes me think to stick
    > > the contextualist label only for what guides you in moral
    > Fine. If you wish to stick to the "contextualist label" that's your moral
    > choice. But, I take an absolutist moral position against rape, kidnapping,
    > lynching, slavery, theft, assault and murder as commonly defined.
    > > Also I had been doing a little rereading last night of Lila and I came
    > > across this -- Pg. 161 " Why does any life survive? It's illogical.
    > > It's self-contradictory that life should survive. I know you
    > > contempt for self-contradictory statements so can you explain that flaky
    > > statement.
    > Pirsig explains in the sentences that immediately follow:
    > "If life is strictly a result of the physical and chemical forces of
    > nature then why is life opposed to these same forces in its struggle to
    > survive? Either life is with physical nature or it's against it. If it's
    > with nature there's nothing to survive. If it's against physical nature
    > then there must be something apart from the physical and chemical forces
    > of nature that is motivating it to be against physical nature."
    > In four sentences, Pirsig cuts the legs out from under scientific
    > materialists and humanists who view people as protoplasmic ciphers to be
    > manipulated.
    > > PLATT: Finally, those who say "There are no absolutes" assert an
    > > In the logic of language, there's no escape. Even those who claim "All
    > > shades of grey within context" contradict their claim by invoking the
    > > absolute "All."
    > >
    > > ERIN: just like you but the "possibily but probably not" on another
    > > coming along so can somebody can say, "possibly there are no absolutes"
    > > without refuting there are absolutes
    > "Possibly there are no absolutes" is asserted as as absolute truth.
    > There's no escape.
    > Best,
    > Platt
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