Daily Archives: Monday, 12:00, May 3, 2010
There was a time when I once believed, without bothering to think it through, that all claims to fact and worldviews were equally true, a time when I hadn’t considered the logical disconnect this line of flawed thinking involved.
I hadn’t really thought through the fallacy of believing, and that’s what it was, that no objectively knowable truths are possible. I was not aware of, and hadn’t considered, the distinctions in meaning between the terms ‘absolute’ and ‘objective.’
Then I started thinking about what I believe and what justifications I really had for believing it, and things began to get a bit better defined for me. I discovered that ‘absolute’ and ‘objective’ were very different things indeed.
I realized that saying that no objective truth exists was itself a statement of objective truth, a violation of the law of non-contradiction, since its truth implied its falsehood, thus rendering impossible its truth.
Yes, my Troythuluness was a relativist. But I got better.
From reading Sagan, Asimov, Martin Gardner and Harlan Ellison, not to mention some cool podcasts I started listening to in late 2006, I took up my current philosophical leanings of scientific realism and scientific skepticism as one of them Evil Dawgmatic Debunkers™. A little over a year afterward, I started my first skeptical blog.
While not an absolutist by any stretch, I do have a healthy respect for the observer-dependent but objective reality I live in whether I like it or not.
Relativism just isn’t true for me anymore, and like anything that doesn’t really exist, went away when I stopped believing in it. So much for belief literally creating reality…
But I’ve gratuitously pontificated enough…
So here’s my question, and hopefully an interesting one:
How, to your current understanding, does reality work? What do you believe its nature to be? Do you conceive of it as externally real though subjectively observer-dependent, externally real and absolutely knowable, relative and only knowable as a cultural construct of ideas, relative and knowable only as a consequence of a theory-laden paradigm? Or even a solipsistic subjectively created reality? What about a reality where everything’s existence is relational to everything else, even the most trivial variations? How do you personally view or conceive it?
TNQ is a daily question that I pose to you, my readers, and please, do feel free to comment — I’m not an ogre. As per the title, TNQ is published each weekday at 12:00 PM