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Christopher Hall

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What are the educational implications of holding on to objective truth in a culture that values relativistic truth?

Besides conflict, of course! This question is deliberately broad, not focused on teachers, students, curriculum, or institutions specifically, so that the soil of it may be tilled as completely as possible through discussion.

Let's start here: if one holds that objective truth exists, then the interactions with culture, peers, professors, course content, and even the disciplines themselves must be flavored and shaped by that assertion. In a postmodern, relativist culture, this questions is somewhat pressing: there are movements in education that favor both types of truth, and that can make plugging into education, for a student, disciple, or apprentice of an opposing view, feel something like a 120V appliance being plugged into a 220V outlet. Without a transformer, step-down or step-up, these learners seemingly would not be able to approach, apprehend, or socialize around the learning because the premises behind its whole gestalt are out of phase. Or could they? What are the transformers necessary to do so? And the greater question: what are the implications for our culture? Can folks who have these two views, and therefore different educations, inherently, create a functional society together?

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  • Jul 6 2013: There are objective truths, no doubt about that. For example; only a fool will describe the North pole as warm and overpopulated. That death comes to all humans is not a subjective truth.
    Subjective truths are invitations to questions and analysis. In researching and finding answers the process of education thrives.
    • Jul 7 2013: Actually, I disagree with your examples of objective truths. The North Pole may not be warm and populated from your perspective or mine, but if you somehow grew up in the South Pole then you would believe that the North Pole is warm and even overpopulated. Objective truth is a philosophical theory that is defined as a truth beyond human perception or personal feelings. My point is that our personal perception interferes with finding good examples of objective truth.

      I do believe that subjective truths are invitations to questions and analysis. But I am sure that the current education system is not focused on finding answers but instead in preparing the less advantageous for the blue collar workforce and advanced students for a higher paying career. Sadly, our present education system suppresses creativeness and questioning; instead it has a (lecture—homework—lecture—homework—test) system. This of course, may not be true, I may be missing out on an elitist, predominantly white, super school where theorizing and questioning is the motto.

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