Anti Anti-relativism was Re: Marx and Woman (was Re: Gender & Free Speech)

Lisa & Ian Murray seamus at
Thu Mar 23 15:50:00 PST 2000


>People think that, but they are wrong. I don't see that the existence of
current moral difference makes moral relativism any more plausible than the existence of past moral differences. Nor does the fact that some people are impervious to reason make their views justified by any lights.

Ah, the philosophers resort to the first god substitute [reason] and then a bogus metaphor to appeal to justification [on that I'll take a touch of Sartre]. Where did I use or insinuate the use of moral relativism? Or am I merely eliciting the exposure of a cognitive habit inculcated in you [and others] by 2500 years of philosophy that seems to be obsolete. Moral differences are a fact and the additional fact of the lack of resolution on the validity or lack thereof regarding moral realism should lead us to thinking of that whole discourse as akin to [using my timeworn analogy] phlogiston and the ether. Incommensurability and intractability are just that and the quest for justification independent of "time" and history just creates aporias upon meta-aporias.

>It can't do that. All it can show is that people disagree. They disagree
about lots of things, including whether evolution is true, whether there is a God, whether the world is round. That does not mean that some views are not wrong and others are not right.

Semiagree, as in history can't "do" anything. My "point" was merely that people also disagree regarding the attempt to rigidly designate the moral/immoral boundary and whether or not it should always be paired with explanation/justification strategies based on truth, which is the ultimate contested notion. It reminds me of the tiring argument over abortion I have every few years with my dearest friend over whether disagreeing that abortion should be framed as a moral issue was itself immoral.

>I am all for bivalence. I think tr\wo valued logic is just grest,, and
moral statements are capable of truth valuation as true or false--not true for me and false for thee, but just true or false.

Ah the crux of the quadrilemma for I totally disagree that 1) all or even most moral claims can be framed in terms of bivalence and 2) that the appeal to metaethical claims compounds the difficulties of any attempt to preclude the use of non-bivalent strategies of debate. Though I'm not against bivalence.

>It is an error to think that relativism promotes tolerance. I can think,
well my moral views are right for me, but not for you. However, my moral views say that your cherished values are evil, so I am morally justified by my lights in forcing you to give them up. Of course, that's not OK by your lights, but mine (we will say)\, which are right for me, do not include tolerance.

Agree with the first sentence, although I never claimed it did. As for the rest, I'm slppin' down a lot of slopes, all at the same time; isn't that what politics and ideology are all about? "Attention Wal-Mart shoppers, Socialism is immoral."

>Moral realism better explains why
it would have been OK to do this--because Hitler's actions even up to then were objectively evil. Or, if you will, just evil. Not evil for us and not for him. They were evil, and if the Nazis thought otherwise, they were wrong.

But, then how do you explain/justify one hell of a lot of moral realist claims that to murder someone is morally wrong, no exceptions or is moral realism different in kind from "universalistic" discourse? Another example, is it moral/immoral/amoral for men/women to write into a political constitution that some men and women will have the "power" to enjoin other men and women to make war against yet other men and women?

Mere opinion [as in mine]: relativism/absolutism in ethical discourse is as obsolete as it is in metaphysics.


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