TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

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?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jul 29 2013: Is the contribution of post-modernism to shift education away from objective truth really true? Or is it deconstruct the argument that there is enduring, objective truth and replace it with another 'truth' which has a veneer which allows for different interpretations of truth (truth is subjective) but in substance is really just another form of objective truth (that there is no objective truth). This actually can lead to a final position that seems to me nihilistic - that one cannot question the objective truth that truth is subjective. At least modernism allowed for genuine scientific inquiry where ideas win. Post-modernism, from my limited experience leads to a veneer of inclusivity but in reality delivers intolerance.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.