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Discussie: Help nodig snel

  1. #1
    Member thecoon's schermafbeelding
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    Help nodig snel

    heeft er iemand korte bondige teksten waar volgende begrippen voldoende worden uitgelegd. bij voorkeur in het Nederlands maar Engels kan ook nog andere talen niet.

    relativistic, consequentialist, non-consequentialist

    dit zijn de Engelse benamingen volgende bergrippen zijn de Nederlandse

    relativistische, consequentialistische nonconsequentialist

    waarom? enige teksten die we hebben zijn van Engelse boeken van 50+ blz waar alleen voorbeelden worden gegeven en geen uniforme denkwijze moet gebruiken

    Wat ik niet zoek zijn betaalde links audio links en ik google het even voor you link en ansewrs.yahoo's e.a. malafide links

    de persoon met de gebruikte informatie ben ik eeuwig dankbaar + een repke
    Laatst gewijzigd door thecoon; 30 augustus 2011 om 14:54

  2. #2
    Member glashelder's schermafbeelding
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    Citaat Oorspronkelijk geplaatst door thecoon Bekijk bericht
    Wat ik niet zoek zijn (...) ik google het even voor you link
    Jammer, de definities zijn nochtans op google te vinden.

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    Approved 9-lifer Jonathan's schermafbeelding
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    n/o maar dit lijkt mij echt wel een simpele google-opdracht, de derde hit op google:

    Consequentialism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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    Member Hiapoe's schermafbeelding
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    Waarom zou je nu in Godsnaam hier willen dat mensen je antwoorden neertypen die je gewoon op google kan vinden...

    2 muisklikken later: (geef mij maar rap een repke )
    -------------------
    Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgement about the rightness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence.

    Consequentialism is usually distinguished from deontology, in that deontology derives the rightness or wrongness of one's conduct from the character of the behaviour itself rather than the outcomes of the conduct. However, some argue that consequentialist and deontological theories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, T.M. Scanlon advances the idea that human rights, which are commonly considered a "deontological" concept, can only be justified with reference to the consequences of having those rights.[1] Similarly, Robert Nozick argues for a theory that is mostly consequentialist, but incorporates inviolable "side-constraints" which restrict the sort of actions agents are permitted to do.[1] It is also distinguished from virtue ethics, which focuses on the character of the agent rather than on the nature or consequences of the act (or omission) itself. It is also distinguished from pragmatic ethics which treats morality like science: advancing socially over the course of many lifetimes, such that any moral criterion is subject to revision.

    The difference between these four approaches to morality tends to lie more in the way moral dilemmas are approached than in the moral conclusions reached. For example, a consequentialist may argue that lying is wrong because of the negative consequences produced by lying—though a consequentialist may allow that certain foreseeable consequences might make lying acceptable. A deontologist might argue that lying is always wrong, regardless of any potential "good" that might come from lying. A virtue ethicist would focus less on lying in any particular instance and instead consider what a decision to tell a lie or not tell a lie said about one's character and moral behavior. An ethical pragmatist would say that, because moral progress has seemed to converge for a variety of reasons (some of which may be beyond our current awareness) against lying, it is currently reasonable to treat lying as wrong (at least until we have good reason to think otherwise).

    Contents [hide]
    1 Etymology and terminology
    2 Consequentialist Philosophies
    2.1 Utilitarianism
    2.2 Ethical egoism and altruism
    2.3 Rule consequentialism
    2.4 Motive consequentialism
    2.5 Negative consequentialism
    2.6 Teleological ethics
    3 Issues in consequentialism
    3.1 Action guidance
    3.1.1 The ideal observer
    3.1.2 The real observer
    3.2 Consequences for whom
    3.2.1 Agent-focused or agent-neutral
    3.2.2 Human-centered?
    3.3 Kinds of consequences
    3.4 Virtue ethics
    3.5 Ultimate End
    4 Criticism
    5 Notable consequentialists
    6 See also
    7 Further reading
    8 References
    9 External links

    [edit] Etymology and terminologyThe term "consequentialism" was coined by G. E. M. Anscombe in her essay "Modern Moral Philosophy" in 1958, to describe what she saw as the central error of certain moral theories, such as those propounded by Mill and Sidgwick.[2] Since then, the term has become common in English-language ethical theory.

    [edit] Consequentialist Philosophies[edit] UtilitarianismMain article: Utilitarianism

    John Stuart Mill, an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century and a teacher of utilitarianism, albeit his teachings are a bit different from Jeremy Bentham's philosophy
    Jeremy Bentham, best known for his advocacy of utilitarianism“ Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think...

    — Jeremy Bentham , The Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) Ch I, p 1

    Summarily, Jeremy Bentham states that people are driven by their interests and their fears, but their interests take precedence over their fears, and their interests are carried out in accordance with how people view the consequences that might be involved with their interests. "Happiness" on this account is defined as the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain.

    Historically, hedonistic utilitarianism is the paradigmatic example of a consequentialist moral theory. This form of utilitarianism holds that what matters is the aggregate happiness; the happiness of everyone and not the happiness of any particular person. John Stuart Mill, in his exposition of hedonistic utilitarianism, proposed a hierarchy of pleasures, meaning that the pursuit of certain kinds of pleasure is more highly valued than the pursuit of other pleasures.[3] However, some contemporary utilitarians, such as Peter Singer are concerned to maximize the satisfaction of preferences, hence "preference utilitarianism". Other contemporary forms of utilitarianism mirror the forms of consequentialism outlined below.

    [edit] Ethical egoism and altruismMain articles: Ethical egoism and Altruism (ethics)
    Ethical egoism can be understood as a consequentialist theory according to which the consequences for the individual agent are taken to matter more than any other result. Thus, egoism will prescribe actions that may be beneficial, detrimental, or neutral to the welfare of others. Some, like Henry Sidgwick, argue that a certain degree of egoism promotes the general welfare of society for two reasons: because individuals know how to please themselves best, and because if everyone were an austere altruist then general welfare would inevitably decrease.[4]

    Ethical altruism can be seen as a consequentialist ethic which prescribes that an individual take actions that have the best consequences for everyone except for himself.[5] This was advocated by Auguste Comte, who coined the term "altruism," and whose ethics can be summed up in the phrase: Live for others.[6]

    [edit] Rule consequentialismIn general, consequentialist theories focus on actions. However, this need not be the case. Rule consequentialism is a theory that is sometimes seen as an attempt to reconcile deontology and consequentialism—and in some cases, this is stated as a criticism of rule consequentialism.[7] Like deontology, rule consequentialism holds that moral behavior involves following certain rules. However, rule consequentialism chooses rules based on the consequences that the selection of those rules have. Rule consequentialism exists in the forms of rule utilitarianism and rule egoism.

    Various theorists are split as to whether the rules are the only determinant of moral behavior or not. For example, Robert Nozick holds that a certain set of minimal rules, which he calls "side-constraints", are necessary to ensure appropriate actions.[1] There are also differences as to how absolute these moral rules are. Thus, while Nozick's side-constraints are absolute restrictions on behavior, Amartya Sen proposes a theory that recognizes the importance of certain rules, but these rules are not absolute.[1] That is, they may be violated if strict adherence to the rule would lead to much more undesirable consequences.

    One of the most common objections to rule-consequentialism is that it is incoherent, because it is based on the consequentialist principle that what we should be concerned with is maximizing the good, but then it tells us not to act to maximize the good, but to follow rules (even in cases where we know that breaking the rule could produce better results).

    Brad Hooker avoided this objection by not basing his form of rule-consequentialism on the ideal of maximizing the good. He writes:

    "…the best argument for rule-consequentialism is not that it derives from an overarching commitment to maximise the good. The best argument for rule-consequentialism is that it does a better job than its rivals of matching and tying together our moral convictions, as well as offering us help with our moral disagreements and uncertainties" [8]

    Derek Parfit described Brad Hooker's book on rule-consequentialism Ideal Code, Real World as the "best statement and defence, so far, of one of the most important moral theories." [9]

    [edit] Motive consequentialismAnother consequentialist version is motive consequentialism which looks if the state of affairs that results from the motive to choose an action is better or at least as good as each of the alternative state of affairs that would have resulted from alternative actions. This version gives relevance to the motive of an act and links it to its consequences. An act can therefore not be wrong if the decision to act was based on a right motive. A possible inference is, that one can not be blamed for mistaken judgements if the motivation was to do good.[10]

    [edit] Negative consequentialismMost consequentialist theories focus on promoting some sort of good consequences. However, one could equally well lay out a consequentialist theory that focuses solely on minimizing bad consequences. (Negative utilitarianism is an actual example.) Of course, the maximization of good consequences could in practice also involve the minimization of bad consequences, but the promotion of good consequences is usually of primary import.

    One major difference between these two approaches is the agent's responsibility. Positive consequentialism demands that we bring about good states of affairs, whereas negative consequentialism may only require that we avoid bad ones. A more strenuous version of negative consequentialism may actually require active intervention, but only to prevent harm from being done. An alternative theory (using the example of negative utilitarianism) is that some consider the reduction of suffering (for the disadvantaged) to be more valuable than increased pleasure (for the affluent or luxurious).

    [edit] Teleological ethicsTeleological ethics (Greek telos, “end”; logos, “science”) is an ethical theory that holds that the ends or consequences of an act determine whether an act is good or evil. Teleological theories are often discussed in opposition to deontological ethical theories, which hold that acts themselves are inherently good or evil, regardless of the consequences of acts.

    Teleological theories differ on the nature of the end that actions ought to promote. Eudaemonist theories (Greek eudaimonia, "happiness") hold that the goal of ethics consists in some function or activity appropriate to man as a human being, and thus tend to emphasize the cultivation of virtue or excellence in the agent as the end of all action. These could be the classical virtues—courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom—that promoted the Greek ideal of man as the "rational animal", or the theological virtues—faith, hope, and love—that distinguished the Christian ideal of man as a being created in the image of God.

    Utilitarian-type theories hold that the end consists in an experience or feeling produced by the action. Hedonism, for example, teaches that this feeling is pleasure—either one's own, as in egoism (the 17th-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes), or everyone's, as in universalistic hedonism, or utilitarianism (the 19th-century English philosophers Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Henry Sidgwick), with its formula of the "greatest pleasure of the greatest number."

    Other utilitarian-type views include the claims that the end of action is survival and growth, as in evolutionary ethics (the 19th-century English philosopher Herbert Spencer); the experience of power, as in despotism (the 16th-century Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli and the 19th-century German Friedrich Nietzsche); satisfaction and adjustment, as in pragmatism (20th-century American philosophers Ralph Barton Perry and John Dewey); and freedom, as in existentialism (the 20th-century French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre).

    The chief problem for eudaemonist theories is to show that leading a life of virtue will also be attended by happiness—by the winning of the goods regarded as the chief end of action. That Job should suffer and Socrates and Jesus die while the wicked prosper, then seems unjust. Eudaemonists generally reply that the universe is moral and that, in Socrates' words, “No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death,” or, in Jesus' words, “But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

    Utilitarian theories, on the other hand, must answer the charge that ends do not justify the means. The problem arises in these theories because they tend to separate the achieved ends from the action by which these ends were produced. One implication of utilitarianism is that one's intention in performing an act may include all of its foreseen consequences. The goodness of the intention then reflects the balance of the good and evil of these consequences, with no limits imposed upon it by the nature of the act itself—even if it be, say, the breaking of a promise or the execution of an innocent man. Utilitarianism, in answering this charge, must show either that what is apparently immoral is not really so or that, if it really is so, then closer examination of the consequences will bring this fact to light. Ideal utilitarianism (G.E. Moore and Hastings Rashdall) tries to meet the difficulty by advocating a plurality of ends and including among them the attainment of virtue itself, which, as John Stuart Mill affirmed, "may be felt a good in itself, and desired as such with as great intensity as any other good."

    [edit] Issues in consequentialism[edit] Action guidanceOne important characteristic of many normative moral theories such as consequentialism is the ability to produce practical moral judgements. At the very least, any moral theory needs to define the standpoint from which the goodness of the consequences are to be determined. What is primarily at stake here is the responsibility of the agent.

    [edit] The ideal observerOne common tactic among consequentialists, particularly those committed to an altruistic (selfless) account of consequentialism, is to employ an ideal, neutral observer from which moral judgements can be made. John Rawls, a critic of utilitarianism, argues that utilitarianism, in common with other forms of consequentialism, relies on the perspective of such an ideal observer.[1] The particular characteristics of this ideal observer can vary from an omniscient observer, who would grasp all the consequences of any action, to an ideally informed observer, who knows as much as could reasonably be expected, but not necessarily all the circumstances or all the possible consequences. Consequentialist theories that adopt this paradigm hold that right action is the action that will bring about the best consequences from this ideal observer's perspective.

    [edit] The real observerIn practice, it is very difficult, and at times arguably impossible, to adopt the point of view of an ideal observer. Individual moral agents do not know everything about their particular situations, and thus do not know all the possible consequences of their potential actions. For this reason, some theorists have argued that consequentialist theories can only require agents to choose the best action in line with what they know about the situation.[11] However, if this approach is naïvely adopted, then moral agents who, for example, recklessly fail to reflect on their situation, and act in a way that brings about terrible results, could be said to be acting in a morally justifiable way. Acting in a situation without first informing oneself of the circumstances of the situation can lead to even the most well-intended actions yielding miserable consequences. As a result, it could be argued that there is a moral imperative for an agent to inform himself as much as possible about a situation before judging the appropriate course of action. This imperative, of course, is derived from consequential thinking: a better-informed agent is able to bring about better consequences.

    [edit] Consequences for whomMoral action always has an effect on certain people or things, the consequences. Various kinds of consequentialism can be differentiated by beneficiary of the good consequences. That is, one might ask "Consequences for whom?"

    [edit] Agent-focused or agent-neutralA fundamental distinction can be drawn between theories that demand that agents act for ends in which they have some personal interest or motivation and theories that demand that agents act for ends perhaps disconnected from their own interests and drives. These are called "agent-focused" and "agent-neutral" theories respectively. Agent-neutral consequentialism ignores the specific value a state of affairs has for any particular agent. Thus, in an agent-neutral theory, an actor's personal goals do not count any more than anyone else's goals in evaluating what action the actor should take. Agent-focused consequentialism, on the other hand, focuses on the particular needs of the moral agent. Thus, in an agent-focused account, such as one that Peter Railton outlines, the actor might be concerned with the general welfare, but the actor is more concerned with the immediate welfare of herself and her friends and family.[1] These two approaches could be reconciled by acknowledging the tension between an agent's interests as an individual and as a member of various groups, and seeking to somehow optimize among all of these interests. For example, it may be meaningful to speak of an action as being good for someone as an individual but bad for them as a citizen of their town.

    [edit] Human-centered?Many consequentialist theories may seem primarily concerned with human beings and their relationships with other human beings. However, some philosophers argue that we should not limit our ethical consideration to the interests of human beings alone. Jeremy Bentham, who is regarded as the founder of Utilitarianism, argues that animals can experience pleasure and pain, thus demanding that 'non-human animals' should be a serious object of moral concern.[12] More recently, Peter Singer has argued that it is unreasonable that we do not give equal consideration to the interests of animals as to those of human beings when we choose the way we are to treat them.[13] Such equal consideration does not necessarily imply identical treatment of humans and non-humans, any more than it necessarily implies identical treatment of all humans.

    [edit] Kinds of consequencesOne way to divide various consequentialisms is by the types of consequences that are taken to matter most, that is, which consequences count as good states of affairs. According to utilitarianism, a good action is one that results in an increase in pleasure, and the best action is one that results in the most pleasure for the greatest number. Closely related is eudaimonic consequentialism, according to which a full, flourishing life, which may or may not be the same as enjoying a great deal of pleasure, is the ultimate aim. Similarly, one might adopt an aesthetic consequentialism, in which the ultimate aim is to produce beauty. However, one might fix on non-psychological goods as the relevant effect. Thus, one might pursue an increase in material equality or political liberty instead of something like the more ephemeral "pleasure". Other theories adopt a package of several goods, all to be promoted equally. Whether a particular consequentialist theory focuses on a single good or many, conflicts and tensions between different good states of affairs are to be expected and must be adjudicated.

    [edit] Virtue ethicsConsequentialism can also be contrasted with aretaic moral theories such as virtue ethics. Whereas consequentialist theories posit that consequences of action should be the primary focus of our thinking about ethics, virtue ethics insists that it is the character rather than the consequences of actions that should be the focal point. Some virtue ethicists hold that consequentialist theories totally disregard the development and importance of moral character. For example, Philippa Foot argues that consequences in themselves have no ethical content, unless it has been provided by a virtue such as benevolence.[1]

    However, consequentialism and virtue ethics need not be understood to be entirely antagonistic. Consequentialist theories can consider character in several ways. For example, the effects on the character of the agent or any other people involved in an action may be regarded as a relevant consequence. Similarly, a consequentialist theory may aim at the maximization of a particular virtue or set of virtues. Finally, following Foot's lead, one might adopt a sort of consequentialism that argues that virtuous activity ultimately produces the best consequences.


    Max Weber[edit] Ultimate EndThe Ultimate end is a concept in the moral philosophy of Max Weber, in which individuals act in a faithful, rather than rational, manner.

    We must be clear about the fact that all ethically oriented conduct may be guided by one of two fundamentally differing and irreconcilably opposed maxims: conduct can be oriented to an "ethic of ultimate ends" or to an "ethic of responsibility." This is not to say that an ethic of ultimate ends is identical with irresponsibility, or that an ethic of responsibility is identical with unprincipled opportunism. Naturally nobody says that. However, there is an abysmal contract between conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of ultimate ends—that, is in religious terms, "the Christian does rightly and leaves the results with the Lord"—and conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of responsibility, in which case one has to give an account of the foreseeable results of one's action."
    [edit] CriticismThomas Nagel holds that consequentialism fails to appropriately take into account the people affected by a particular action. He argues that a consequentialist cannot really criticize human rights abuses in a war, for example, if they ultimately result in a better state of affairs.[1]

    William Gass argues that moral theories such as consequentialism are unable to adequately explain why a morally wrong action is morally wrong. Gass uses the example of an "obliging stranger" who agrees to be baked in an oven. Gass claims that the rationale that any moral theory might attempt to give for this wrongness, e.g. it does not bring about good results, is simply absurd. According to Gass, it is wrong to bake a stranger, however obliging, and nothing more can or need be said about it.[14]

    G. E. M. Anscombe, whose previously mentioned paper coined the term "consequentialism",[2] objects to consequentialism on the grounds that it does not provide guidance in what one ought to do, since the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined based on the consequences it produces. Furthermore, she argues that consequentialism since Henry Sidgwick denies that there is any distinction between consequences that are foreseen and those that are intended (see Principle of double effect). Finally, Anscombe objects to the very character of consequentialism itself insofar as it is concerned with determining the rightness and wrongness of actions. She argues that the distinction between right action and wrong action only makes sense within the framework of Judeo-Christian divine law—and, according to Anscombe, Judeo-Christian divine law is incompatible with consequentialism.

    Bernard Williams has argued that consequentialism is alienating because it requires moral agents to put too much distance between themselves and their own projects and commitments. Williams argues that consequentialism requires moral agents to take a strictly impersonal view of all actions, since it is only the consequences, and not who produces them, that is said to matter. Williams argues that this demands too much of moral agents—since (he claims) consequentialism demands that they be willing to sacrifice any and all personal projects and commitments in any given circumstance in order to pursue the most beneficent course of action possible. He argues further that consequentialism fails to make sense of intuitions that it can matter whether or not someone is personally the author of a particular consequence. For example, that having "dirty hands" by participating in a crime can matter, even if the crime would have been committed anyway, or would even have been worse, without the agent's participation. Some consequentialists—most notably Peter Railton—have attempted to develop a form of consequentialism that acknowledges and avoids the objections raised by Williams. Railton argues that Williams's criticisms can be avoided by adopting a form of consequentialism in which moral decisions are to be determined by the sort of life that they express. On his account, the agent should choose the sort of life that will, on the whole, produce the best overall effects.[1]
    "At every crossroads on the path that leads to the future, tradition has placed 10,000 men to guard the past.”
    “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

    “The governor of Texas, who, when asked if the Bible should also be taught in Spanish, replied that 'if English was good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for me.”

  5. #5
    Member Hiapoe's schermafbeelding
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    Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.[1][2] The term is often used to refer to the context of moral principle, where in a relativistic mode of thought, principles and ethics are regarded as applicable in only limited context. There are many forms of relativism which vary in their degree of controversy.[3] The term often refers to truth relativism, which is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture (cf. cultural relativism). Another widespread and contentious form is moral relativism. (See also moral relativism, aesthetic relativism, social constructionism, and cognitive relativism).

    Relativism is sometimes (though not always) interpreted as saying that all points of view are equally valid, in contrast to an absolutism which argues there is but one true and correct view. In fact, relativism asserts that a particular instance Y exists only in combination with or as a by-product of a particular framework or viewpoint X, and that no framework or standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others. That is, a non-universal trait Y (e.g., a particular practice, behavior, custom, convention, concept, belief, perception, ethics, truth, or conceptual framework) is a dependent variable influenced by the independent variable X (e.g., a particular language, culture, historical epoch, a priori cognitive architecture, scientific frameworks, gender, ethnicity, status, individuality). Notably, this is not an argument that all instances of a certain kind of framework (say, all languages) do not share certain basic universal commonalities (say, grammatical structure and vocabulary) that essentially define that kind of framework and distinguish it from other frameworks (for example, linguists have criteria that define language and distinguish it from the mere communication of other animals).

    One argument for relativism suggests that our own cognitive bias prevents us from observing something objectively with our own senses, and notational bias will apply to whatever we can allegedly measure without using our senses. In addition, we have a culture bias—shared with other trusted observers—which we cannot eliminate. A counterargument to this states that subjective certainty and concrete objects and causes form part of our everyday life, and that there is no great value in discarding such useful ideas as isomorphism, objectivity and a final truth. Some relativists claim that humans can understand and evaluate beliefs and behaviors only in terms of their historical or cultural context.

    Contents [hide]
    1 Forms of relativism
    1.1 Anthropological versus philosophical relativism
    1.2 Descriptive versus normative relativism
    2 Related and contrasting positions
    3 Advocates
    3.1 Indian religions
    3.2 Sophists
    3.3 Bernard Crick
    3.4 Paul Feyerabend
    3.5 L. Ron Hubbard
    3.6 Thomas Kuhn
    3.7 George Lakoff and Mark Johnson
    3.8 Robert Nozick
    3.9 Joseph Margolis
    3.10 Richard Rorty
    3.11 Isaiah Berlin
    4 Critics
    5 Postmodern relativism
    6 Relativism: pros and cons
    6.1 Criticisms
    6.2 Responses
    7 Theater and relativism
    8 The Catholic Church and relativism
    8.1 Leo XIII
    8.2 John Paul II
    8.3 Benedict XVI
    9 See also
    10 References
    11 Bibliography
    12 External links

    [edit] Forms of relativism[edit] Anthropological versus philosophical relativismAnthropological relativism refers to a methodological stance, in which the researcher suspends (or brackets) his or her own cultural biases while attempting to understand beliefs and behaviors in their local contexts. This has become known as methodological relativism, and concerns itself specifically with avoiding ethnocentrism or the application of one's own cultural standards to the assessment of other cultures.[4] This is also the basis of the so-called "emic" and "etic" distinction, in which:

    An emic or insider account of behavior is a description of a society in terms that are meaningful to the participant or actor's own culture; an emic account is therefore culture-specific, and typically refers to what is considered "common sense" within the culture under observation.
    An etic or outsider account is a description of a society by an observer, in terms that can be applied to other cultures; that is, an etic account is culturally neutral, and typically refers to the conceptual framework of the social scientist. (This is complicated when it is scientific research itself that is under study, or when there is theoretical or terminological disagreement within the social sciences.)
    Philosophical relativism, in contrast, is the skeptical position that asserts that the truth of a proposition depends on who interprets it because no moral or cultural consensus can or will be reached.[5]

    Methodological relativism and philosophical relativism can exist independently from one another, but most anthropologists base their methodological relativism on that of the philosophical variety.[6]

    [edit] Descriptive versus normative relativismThe concept of relativism also has importance both for philosophers and for anthropologists in another way. In general, anthropologists engage in descriptive relativism, whereas philosophers engage in normative relativism, although there is some overlap (for example, descriptive relativism can pertain to concepts, normative relativism to truth).

    Descriptive relativism assumes that certain cultural groups have different modes of thought, standards of reasoning, and so forth, and it is the anthropologist's task to describe, but not to evaluate the validity of these principles and practices of a cultural group. It is possible for an anthropologist in his or her fieldwork to be a descriptive relativist about some things that typically concern the philosopher (e.g., ethical principles) but not about others (e.g., logical principles). However, the descriptive relativist's empirical claims about epistemic principles, moral ideals and the like are often countered by anthropological arguments that such things are universal, and much of the recent literature on these matters is explicitly concerned with the extent of, and evidence for, cultural or moral or linguistic or human universals (see Brown, 1991 for a good discussion).

    The fact that the various species of descriptive relativism are empirical claims, may tempt the philosopher to conclude that they are of little philosophical interest, but there are several reasons why this isn't so. First, some philosophers, notably Kant, argue that certain sorts of cognitive differences between human beings (or even all rational beings) are impossible, so such differences could never be found to obtain in fact, an argument that places a priori limits on what empirical inquiry could discover and on what versions of descriptive relativism could be true. Second, claims about actual differences between groups play a central role in some arguments for normative relativism (for example, arguments for normative ethical relativism often begin with claims that different groups in fact have different moral codes or ideals). Finally, the anthropologist's descriptive account of relativism helps to separate the fixed aspects of human nature from those that can vary, and so a descriptive claim that some important aspect of experience or thought does (or does not) vary across groups of human beings tells us something important about human nature and the human condition.

    Normative relativism concerns normative or evaluative claims that modes of thought, standards of reasoning, or the like are only right or wrong relative to a framework. ‘Normative’ is meant in a general sense, applying to a wide range of views; in the case of beliefs, for example, normative correctness equals truth. This does not mean, of course, that framework-relative correctness or truth is always clear, the first challenge being to explain what it amounts to in any given case (e.g., with respect to concepts, truth, epistemic norms). Normative relativism (say, in regard to normative ethical relativism) therefore implies that things (say, ethical claims) are not simply true in themselves, but only have truth values relative to broader frameworks (say, moral codes). (Many normative ethical relativist arguments run from premises about ethics to conclusions that assert the relativity of truth values, bypassing general claims about the nature of truth, but it is often more illuminating to consider the type of relativism under question directly.)[7]

    [edit] Related and contrasting positionsRelationism is the theory that there are only relations between individual entities, and no intrinsic properties. Despite the similarity in name, it is held by some to be a position distinct from relativism—for instance, because "statements about relational properties [...] assert an absolute truth about things in the world"[8] On the other hand, others wish to equate relativism, relationism and even relativity, which is a precise theory of relationships between physical objects:[9] Nevertheless, "This confluence of relativity theory with relativism became a strong contributing factor in the increasing prominence of relativism" [10]

    Whereas previous investigations of science only sought sociological or psychological explanations of failed scientific theories or pathological science, the 'strong programme' is more relativistic, assessing scientific truth and falsehood equally in a historic and cultural context.

    Relativism is not skepticism. Skepticism superficially resembles relativism, because they both doubt absolute notions of truth. However, whereas skeptics go on to doubt all notions of truth, relativists want to replace absolute truth with a positive theory of relative truth. For the relativist, there is no more to truth than a personal or cultural belief, so for them there is a lot of truth in the world.[11]

    [edit] Advocates[edit] Indian religionsIndian religions tend to be relativistic. Mahavira (599-527 BC), the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, developed an early philosophy regarding relativism and subjectivism known as Anekantavada. Hindu religion has no theological difficulties in accepting degrees of truth in other religions. A Rig Vedic hymn states that "Truth is One, though the sages know it variously." (Ékam sat vipra bahudā vadanti)

    The Sikh Gurus (spiritual teacher ) have propagated the message of "many paths" leading to the one God and ultimate salvation for all souls who tread on the path of righteousness. They have supported the view that proponents of all faiths can, by doing good and virtuous deeds and by remembering the Lord, certainly achieve salvation. The students of the Sikh faith are told to accept all leading faiths as possible vehicle for attaining spiritual enlightenment provided the faithful study, ponder and practice the teachings of their prophets and leaders. The holy book of the Sikhs called the Sri Guru Granth Sahib says: "Do not say that the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran are false. Those who do not contemplate them are false." Guru Granth Sahib page 1350.[12] and "The seconds, minutes, and hours, days, weeks and months, and the various seasons originate from the one Sun; O nanak, in just the same way, the many forms originate from the Creator." Guru Granth Sahib page 12,13.

    [edit] SophistsSophists are considered the founding fathers of relativism in the Western World. Elements of relativism emerged among the Sophists in the 5th century BC. Notably, it was Protagoras who coined the phrase, "Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not." The thinking of the Sophists is mainly known through their opponents, Plato and Socrates. In a well known paraphrased dialogue with Socrates, Protagoras said: "What is true for you is true for you, and what is true for me is true for me." [13][14][15]

    [edit] Bernard CrickAnother important advocate of relativism, Bernard Crick, a British political scientist, wrote the book In Defence of Politics (first published in 1962), suggesting the inevitability of moral conflict between people. Crick stated that only ethics could resolve such conflict, and when that occurred in public it resulted in politics. Accordingly, Crick saw the process of dispute resolution, harms reduction, mediation or peacemaking as central to all of moral philosophy. He became an important influence on the feminists and later on the Greens.

    [edit] Paul FeyerabendThe philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend wholeheartedly embraced relativism at many points of his career.

    Many of the more important papers Feyerabend published during the mid-1980s were collected together in Farewell to Reason (London: Verso, 1987). The major message of this book is that relativism is the solution to the problems of conflicting beliefs and of conflicting ways of life.[16]
    However, he also expressed growing dissatisfaction with it toward the end of his life, while by no means endorsing realism either:

    In an aphorism [Feyerabend] often repeated, "potentially every culture is all cultures". This is intended to convey that world views are not hermetically closed, since their leading concepts have an "ambiguity" - better, an open-endedness - which enables people from other cultures to engage with them. [...] It follows that relativism, understood as the doctrine that truth is relative to closed systems, can get no purchase. [...] For Feyerabend, both hermetic relativism and its absolutist rival serve, in their different ways, to "devalue human existence". The former encourages that unsavoury brand of political correctness which takes the refusal to criticise "other cultures" to the extreme of condoning murderous dictatorship and barbaric practices. The latter, especially in its favoured contemporary form of "scientific realism", with the excessive prestige it affords to the abstractions of "the monster 'science'", is in bed with a politics which likewise disdains variety, richness and everyday individuality - a politics which likewise "hides" its norms behind allegedly neutral facts, "blunts choices and imposes laws".[17]
    [edit] L. Ron HubbardL. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, wrote the booklet "The way to happiness" in 1980. The relativistic view, that the truth is "what is true for you", is emphasized in the booklet repeatedly.[18]

    [edit] Thomas KuhnThomas Kuhn's philosophy of science, as expressed in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is often interpreted as relativistic. He claimed that as well as progressing steadily and incrementally ("normal science"), science undergoes periodic revolutions or "paradigm shifts", leaving scientists working in different paradigms with difficulty in even communicating. Thus the truth of a claim, or the existence of a posited entity is relative to the paradigm employed. However, he was reluctant to fully embrace relativism.

    From these remarks, one thing is however certain: Kuhn is not saying that incommensurable theories cannot be compared - what they can’t be is compared in terms of a system of common measure. He very plainly says that they can be compared, and he reiterates this repeatedly in later work, in a (mostly in vain) effort to avert the crude and sometimes catastrophic misinterpretations he suffered from mainstream philosophers and post-modern relativists alike.[19]
    But Thomas Kuhn denied the accusation of being a relativist later in his postscript. He argued that scientific development is a "unidirectional and irreversible process," which means that later scientific theories do make improvements on previous ones[citation needed].

    [edit] George Lakoff and Mark JohnsonGeorge Lakoff and Mark Johnson define relativism in their book Metaphors We Live By as the rejection of both subjectivism and metaphysical objectivism in order to focus on the relationship between them, i.e. the metaphor by which we relate our current experience to our previous experience. In particular, Lakoff and Johnson characterize "objectivism" as a "straw man", and, to a lesser degree, criticize the views of Karl Popper, Kant and Aristotle.[page needed]

    [edit] Robert NozickIn his book Invariances, Robert Nozick expresses a complex set of theories about the absolute and the relative. He thinks the absolute/relative distinction should be recast in terms of an invariant/variant distinction, where there are many things a proposition can be invariant with regard to or vary with. He thinks it is coherent for truth to be relative, and speculates that it might vary with time. He thinks necessity is an unobtainable notion, but can be approximated by robust invariance across a variety of conditions—although we can never identify a proposition that is invariant with regard to everything. Finally, he is not particularly warm to one of the most famous forms of relativism, moral relativism, preferring an evolutionary account.

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    Relativism cont.

    [edit] Joseph MargolisJoseph Margolis advocates a view he calls "robust relativism" and defends it in his books: Historied Thought, Constructed World, Chapter 4 (California, 1995) and The Truth about Relativism (Blackwells, 1991). He opens his account by stating that our logics should depend on what we take to be the nature of the sphere to which we wish to apply our logics. Holding that there can be no distinctions which are not "privileged" between the alethic, the ontic, and the epistemic, he maintains that a many valued logic just might be the most apt for aesthetics or history since, because in these practices, we are loath to hold to simple binary logic; and he also holds that many-valued logic is relativistic. (This is perhaps an unusual definition of "relativistic". Compare with his comments on "relationism"). "True" and "False" as mutually exclusive and exhaustive judgements on Hamlet, for instance, really does seem absurd. A many valued logic—"apt", "reasonable", "likely", and so on—seems intuitively more applicable to Hamlet interpretation. Where apparent contradictions arise between such interpretations, we might call the interpretations "incongruent", rather than dubbing either "false", because using many-valued logic implies that a measured value is a mixture of two extreme possibilities. Using the subset of many-valued logic, fuzzy logic, we[who?] can say that various interpretations can be represented by membership in more than one possible truth sets simultaneously. Fuzzy logic is therefore probably the best mathematical structure for understanding "robust relativism" and has been interpreted by Bart Kosko as philosophically being related to Zen Buddhism.

    It was Aristotle who held that relativism implied we should, sticking with appearances only, end up contradicting ourselves somewhere if we could apply all attributes to all ousiai (beings). Aristotle, however, made non-contradiction dependent upon his essentialism. If his essentialism is false, then so too is his ground for disallowing relativism. (Subsequent philosophers have found other reasons for supporting the principle of non-contradiction).

    Beginning with Protagoras and invoking Charles Sanders Peirce, Margolis shows that the historic struggle to discredit relativism is an attempt to impose an unexamined belief in the world's essentially rigid rule-like nature. Plato and Aristotle merely attacked "relationalism"—the doctrine of true-for l or true for k, and the like, where l and k are different speakers or different worlds, or the something similar (Most philosophers would call this position "relativism"). For Margolis, "true" means true; that is, the alethic use of "true" remains untouched. However, in real world contexts, and context is ubiquitous in the real world, we must apply truth values. Here, in epistemic terms, we[who?] might retire "true" tout court as an evaluation and keep "false". The rest of our value-judgements could be graded from "extremely plausible" down to "false". Judgements which on a bivalent logic would be incompatible or contradictory are further seen as "incongruent", though one may well have more weight than the other. In short, relativistic logic is not, or need not be, the bugbear it is often presented to be. It may simply be the best type of logic to apply to certain very uncertain spheres of real experiences in the world (although some sort of logic needs to be applied to make that judgement). Those who swear by bivalent logic might simply be the ultimate keepers of the great fear of the flux.[citation needed]

    [edit] Richard RortyPhilosopher Richard Rorty has a somewhat paradoxical role in the debate over relativism: he is criticized for his relativistic views by many naïve commentators, but has always denied that relativism applies to much anybody, being nothing more than a Platonic scarecrow. Rorty claims, rather, that he is a pragmatist, and that to construe pragmatism as relativism is to beg the question.

    '"Relativism" is the traditional epithet applied to pragmatism by realists'[20]
    '"Relativism" is the view that every belief on a certain topic, or perhaps about any topic, is as good as every other. No one holds this view. Except for the occasional cooperative freshman, one cannot find anybody who says that two incompatible opinions on an important topic are equally good. The philosophers who get called 'relativists' are those who say that the grounds for choosing between such opinions are less algorithmic than had been thought.'[21]
    'In short, my strategy for escaping the self-referential difficulties into which "the Relativist" keeps getting himself is to move everything over from epistemology and metaphysics into cultural politics, from claims to knowledge and appeals to self-evidence to suggestions about what we should try.'[22]
    Rorty takes a deflationary attitude to truth, believing there is nothing of interest to be said about truth in general, including the contention that it is generally subjective. He also argues that the notion of warrant or justification can do most of the work traditionally assigned to the concept of truth, and that justification is relative; justification is justification to an audience, for Rorty.

    In Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity he argues that the debate between so-called relativists and so-called objectivists is beside the point because they don't have enough premises in common for either side to prove anything to the other.

    [edit] Isaiah BerlinThe late Sir Isaiah Berlin expressed a relativistic view when he stated that, to "confuse our own constructions with eternal laws or divine decrees is one of the most fatal delusions of men." [23] And again when he said, "the concept of fact is itself problematic…all facts embody theories...or socially conditioned, ideological attitudes."[24]

    [edit] CriticsIn Science and Relativism, Larry Laudan writes "The displacement of the idea that facts and evidence matter by the idea that everything boils down to subjective interest and perspectives, is—second only to American political campaigns—the most prominent and pernicious manifestation of relativism of our time."

    The literary theorist Christopher Norris has written a book entitled "Against Relativism". He argues that deconstruction, properly understood, does not equate to relativism.

    Plato could be seen as a critic of relativism. He criticizes the views of the sophist Protagoras in his dialogue Thaetetus. In a paraphrased dialogue, Socrates proved that relativism is self defeating with the following: "My opinion is: Truth must be absolute and that you Mr. Protagoras, are absolutely in error. Since this is indeed my opinion, then you must concede that it is true according to your philosophy."[13]

    Physicist Alan Sokal who initiated the science wars in 1996, co-authored the book Fashionable Nonsense (also known as Intellectual Impostures) with Jean Bricmont, which criticises relativism, as well as the misuse of scientific ideas by philosophers. [25]

    Kenan Malik writes: "The consequence of this [relativism] has been both to undermine the value of knowledge and to narrow the scope of intellectual and political debate".[26]

    [edit] Postmodern relativismThe term "relativism" often comes up in debates over postmodernism, poststructuralism and phenomenology. Critics of these perspectives often identify advocates with the label "relativism." For example, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis is often considered a relativist view because it posits that linguistic categories and structures shape the way people view the world. Similarly, deconstruction is often termed a relativist perspective because of the ways it locates the meaning of a text in its appropriation and reading, implying that there is no "true" reading of a text and no text apart from its reading. Stanley Fish has defended postmodernism and relativism. [27]

    These perspectives do not strictly count as relativist in the philosophical sense, because they express agnosticism on the nature of reality and make epistemological rather than ontological claims. Nevertheless, the term is useful to differentiate them from realists who believe that the purpose of philosophy, science, or literary critique is to locate externally true meanings. Important philosophers and theorists such as Michel Foucault, Max Stirner and Friedrich Nietzsche, political movements such as post-anarchism or post-Marxism can also be considered as relativist in this sense - though a better term might be social constructivist.

    The spread and popularity of this kind of "soft" relativism varies between academic disciplines. It has wide support in anthropology and has a majority following in cultural studies. It also has advocates in political theory and political science, sociology, and continental philosophy (as distinct from Anglo-American analytical philosophy). It has inspired empirical studies of the social construction of meaning such as those associated with labelling theory, which defenders can point to as evidence of the validity of their theories (albeit risking accusations of performative contradiction in the process). Advocates of this kind of relativism often also claim that recent developments in the natural sciences, such as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, quantum mechanics, chaos theory and complexity theory show that science is now becoming relativistic.[citation needed] However, many scientists who use these methods continue to identify as realist or post-positivist, and some sharply criticize the association[28][29]

    [edit] Relativism: pros and cons[edit] CriticismsA common argument[30][31][32][33][34] against relativism suggests that it inherently contradicts, refutes, or stultifies itself: the statement "all is relative" classes either as a relative statement or as an absolute one. If it is relative, then this statement does not rule out absolutes. If the statement is absolute, on the other hand, then it provides an example of an absolute statement, proving that not all truths are relative. However, this argument against relativism only applies to relativism that positions truth as relative–i.e. epistemological/truth-value relativism. More specifically, it is only strong forms of epistemological relativism that can come in for this criticism as there are many epistemological relativists who posit that some aspects of what is regarded as "true" are not universal, yet still accept that other universal truths exist (e.g. gas laws). However, such exceptions need to be carefully justified, or "anything goes".
    Another argument against relativism posits a Natural Law. Simply put, the physical universe works under basic principles: the "Laws of Nature". Some contend that a natural Moral Law may also exist, for example as argued by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion (2006)[35] and addressed by C. S. Lewis in "Mere Christianity" (1952).[36] Dawkins said "I think we face an equal but much more sinister challenge from the left, in the shape of cultural relativism - the view that scientific truth is only one kind of truth and it is not to be especially privileged."[37]
    Aside from the general legitimacy of relativism, critics say it undermines morality, possibly resulting in anomie and complete Social Darwinism. Relativism denies that harming others is wrong in any absolute sense. The majority of relativists, of course, consider it immoral to harm others, but relativist theory allows for the opposite belief. In short, if an individual can believe it wrong to harm others, he can also believe it right–no matter what the circumstances.
    The problem of negation also arises. If everyone with differing opinions is right, then no one is. Thus instead of saying "all beliefs (ideas, truths, etc.) are equally valid," one might just as well say "all beliefs are equally worthless". (see article on Doublethink).
    Another argument is that if relativism presupposes that "all beliefs are equally valid," it then implies that any belief system holding itself to be the only valid one is untrue, which is a contradiction.
    An argument made by Hilary Putnam,[38] among others, states that some forms of relativism make it impossible to believe one is in error. If there is no truth beyond an individual's belief that something is true, then an individual cannot hold their own beliefs to be false or mistaken. A related criticism is that relativizing truth to individuals destroys the distinction between truth and belief.
    [edit] ResponsesContradictions such as "all beliefs are equally worthless" are nonsensical, as they constitute arguing from the premise. Once you have said if the X is absolute (e.g. "all beliefs are equally worthless") you have presupposed relativism is false. And one cannot prove a statement using that statement as a premise. There is a contradiction, but the contradiction is between relativism and the presuppositions of absoluteness in the ordinary logic used. Nothing has been proven wrong and nothing has been proven in and of itself, only the known incompatibility has been restated inefficiently.[citation needed]
    A very different approach explicates the rhetorical production of supposedly 'bottom-line' arguments against relativism. Edwards et al.’s influential and controversial "Death and Furniture"[39] paper takes this line in its staunch defense of relativism. Part of the rhetoric discussed here involves the portrayal of relativists who say (for example), "torture is not an absolute evil", as saying, in effect, "we don't disapprove of torture as strongly as you do". Relativists argue that this is a rhetorical trick, akin to claiming "you can't throw out the bath water without throwing out the baby too": denying absolute truths still leaves relativists free to be utterly and passionately opposed to torture. Further cultural relativism only implies that differing cultural contexts have to be taken into account when making judgements about what is good or bad relative to that culture. It does not limit one's ability to disagree with a cultural norm.
    A strong epistemological relativist could theoretically argue that it does not matter that his theory is only relative according to itself. As long as it remains "true" according to a relative framework, then it is just as true as any apparently "absolute" truth that an absolutist would postulate. The dispute lies in the distinction between whether the framework is relative or absolute, but if an absolutist could be persuaded it was relative, then the relativist theory could exist logically within that framework, albeit accepting that its "truth" is relative. Strong epistemological relativist must remove their own notions of universal truth if they are to embrace their theory fully, they must accept some form of truth to validate their theory logically, and this truth, by definition, must be relative. So if the initial framework is relativistic and something is true within its context arguments that it is not true outside its context have no value.[citation needed]
    [edit] Theater and relativismRelativism found its voice in theater through Pirandello who believed that nothing, neither time nor morals, is absolute.

    Pirandello examines the relationship between reality, illusion and relativity.

    [edit] The Catholic Church and relativismThe Roman Catholic Church, especially under John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, has identified relativism as one of the most significant problems for faith and morals today.[40]

    According to the Church and to some philosophers, relativism, as a denial of absolute truth, leads to moral license and a denial of the possibility of sin and of God. Whether moral or epistemological, relativism constitutes a denial of the capacity of the human mind and reason to arrive at truth. Truth, according to Catholic theologians and philosophers (following Aristotle and Plato) consists of adequatio rei et intellectus, the correspondence of the mind and reality. Another way of putting it states that the mind has the same form as reality. This means when the form of the computer in front of someone (the type, color, shape, capacity, etc.) is also the form that is in their mind, then what they know is true because their mind corresponds to objective reality.

    The denial of an absolute reference, of an axis mundi, denies God, who equates to Absolute Truth, according to these Christian philosophers. They link relativism to secularism, an obstruction of religion in human life.

    [edit] Leo XIIIPope Leo XIII (1810–1903) was the first known Pope to use the word relativism in the encyclical Humanum Genus (1884). Leo XIII condemned Freemasonry and claimed that its philosophical and political system was largely based on relativism.[41]

    [edit] John Paul IIJohn Paul II in Veritatis Splendor ("The Splendor of the Truth") stressed the dependence of man on God and his law ("Without the Creator, the creature disappears") and the "dependence of freedom on the truth". He warned that man "giving himself over to relativism and skepticism, goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself".

    In Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), he says:

    The original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people-even if it is the majority. This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the "right" ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part. In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenceless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part. [Italics added]
    [edit] Benedict XVIIn April 2005, in his homily[42] during Mass prior to the conclave which would elect him as Pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger talked about the world "moving towards a dictatorship of relativism":

    How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves ¬ thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Ephesians 4, 14). Having a clear Faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching", looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires. However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an "Adult" means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth.
    On June 6, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI told educators:

    "Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of education is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own 'ego'".[43]
    Then during the World Youth Day in August 2005, he also traced to relativism the problems produced by the communist and sexual revolutions, and provided a counter-counter argument.[44]

    In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common programme–expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for the cause of the world in order to change it. And this, as we saw, meant that a human and partial point of view was always taken as an absolute guiding principle. Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism. It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him. It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the Guarantor of our freedom, the Guarantor of what is really good and true.

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