TED Conversations

Christopher Hall

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

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?

+1
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jul 5 2013: Well, you leave yourself open to different points of view and fresh ideas are always able to pour in. I would characterize myself as an objective truth type of person, but many of the "level 10" problems society faces today require "level 10" solutions which can only be contrived through a collaboration of sound thinkers - not too mention that we objective folks may be able to sang a few reletive folks for our side (lol).
    • Jul 5 2013: THANK YOU for not immediately shutting down upon reading 'objective truth'! I absolutely agree with the collaborative effort of finding those solutions! There is a premise that I notice has climbed in to almost everyone's post, and that is that objective truth people are either a) closedly religious; b) out of touch with reality; or c) just nuts. : ) Most have failed to see the hypothetical nature of this problem, and most have tipped their hand on being prejudiced to boot. I've been very surprised to see this, really. It looks like a problem for sociologists, psychologists. theologians, and children, because they're the ones who are going to have to grow up in this kind of world.

      That said, your last sentence hits the mark on what I'm wondering: HOW can that connection occur in a classroom? There are some hurdles to overcome, certainly. What would you say would be the primary set, from the students' and/or the teachers' perspective? I would assume trust and humor are givens, neither of which have manifested themselves in this thread until you came along. Thank you.
      • Jul 8 2013: "An education that is understood in complexity terms cannot be conceived in terms of preparation for the future. Rather it must be construed in terms of participation in the creation of possible futures."
        -Dennis Sumara

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.