(I’m data hopping.} From a December 20 post at Matt Murrah’s Leadership blog.
We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal oneâ€™s own ego and oneâ€™s own desires. – Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict, XVI)
Later, Murrah admits,
If relativism is to be ‘enforced’, then it is not true relativism. If society wishes to impugn relativism on ‘fundamentalists’, are they any better than a true fundamentalist?
Sure. Still later his argument becomes sillier still.
It amazes me that “relativism” is defined badly and then this definition is whipped repeatedly. This anything goes definition is very much a Straw Man.
I would counter this with an inquiry into what varieties of positional relativism might be articulated propositionally. For example, one might, at a minimum, note domain dependencies and their contingent relations. Curiously, the appeal of the reduction of relativism to this bare “anything goes” formulation elevates uncertainty over one factor above all: relationship. Hello!
A perspective I’m fond of inhabiting emerges from my own, novel Jamesian phenomonological prejudices. It’s fundamental supposition is that ways of being and reasoning co-exist. These ways exist, and simply by virtue of their existing, an account can be made. Furthermore, we would find those ways of being/reasoning to be evocative and to be related to a clear utility.
Note this is far from “anything goes”. In actuality, if something exists, even imaginally, it goes but if it doesn’t exist it can’t go. …so-to-speak.
For example, a certain foundational morality exists. That there isn’t an existing certain foundational morality is the case too. They co-exist; albeit fitfully if you’re the Pope or are similarly disposed.
Murrah wants it both ways in his essay but doesn’t seem to get that the first things of a certain morality yield relative positions just as the first things of a relativism yield absolutist positions. This does constitute a ‘problematic’ but it’s not very interesting to me because it’s more interesting to account for moral reasoning and moral agency and moral acting as matters of consensus and informal intersubjective “working out,” and, those aspects are related to the domain of necessary utility. “Worked out” moralities are pragmatic.
The main thing is none of those ad hoc moralities are going to get back in the box they came from, a box per force ‘opened’ 25,000-200,000 years ago. The longitudinally anthropological argument is rarely brought to the fore. Admittedly, evolutionary psychology/anthropology gets the monological theists’ goat too. But, even a salutary foundationalism came into existence at some point. …in the past.