TED Conversations

  • J Hat
  • Brandon, FL
  • United States

This conversation is closed.

Is truth relative?

Is truth relative? Can truth really be different for one person compared to another? What is your thinking on this?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Nov 6 2011: Relativism is the denial of absolutes.
    Such a view appears to be correct because:
    1/ No one seems able to state any absolutely correct assertion
    2/ The notion of unquestionable assertions seems to be an extrapolation of questionable ones to an ultimate degree (with the paradoxical consequence that all our uncertain truths can no longer be said to be true i.e. we are left with no truths at all)
    3/ We can question, quite literally, any assertion

    People judge assertions to be true. The relative truth of these assertions lie in their power and comprehensiveness, which is to say, the idea of truth is based on the fact that language works (and poor language works badly).

    If one retains the notion of absolute truth but claims that this truth is relative to persons or cultures - then such a viewpoint is NOT relativism but rather personal absolutism or cultural absolutism. Such a view maintains irreconcilable contradictions and is quite rightly derided and dismissed.
    So individuals and cultures do determine what they say is true (obviously) but some persons/cultures are better than others.

    Which means we should pride ourselves on collecting the most powerful understandings rather than deluding ourselves that our understanding is perfectible and that we have perfected it.
    • thumb
      Nov 10 2011: If you are able to hold the opposite position of a belief you hold to be "true" as equal to your original belief, then your one the path toward Truth
      • Nov 10 2011: If you are able to make statements that are grounded in the particular and the concrete then you are on the path toward making sense.
      • thumb
        Nov 16 2011: QUOTE: "... then your one the path toward Truth"

        Do you mean, "then you're on the path toward Truth?"
    • thumb
      Nov 16 2011: Lawrence,

      You seem to equate absolute truth with absolute understanding. That we cannot understand (or adequately express) something to be absolute does not imply there are no absolutes.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.