Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss relativism, a philosophy of shifting sands. "Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of educating is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own 'ego'." Pope Benedict XVI, in a speech given in June 2005, showed that the issue of relativism is as contentious today as it was in Ancient Greece, when Plato took on the relativist stance of Protagoras and the sophists.
Relativism is a school of philosophical thought which holds to the idea that there are no absolute truths. Instead, truth is situated within different frameworks of understanding that are governed by our history, culture and critical perspective.
Why has relativism so radically divided scholars and moral custodians over the centuries? How have its supporters answered to criticisms that it is inherently unethical? And if there are universal standards such as human rights, how do relativists defend culturally specific practices such as honour killings or female infanticide?
With Barry Smith, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London; Jonathan Rée, freelance philosopher who holds visiting professorships at the Royal College of Art and Roehampton University; Kathleen Lennon, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Hull.
Good evening to you all! I trust that all is well with all of you! Judge not, that ye be not judged, Jason. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
I suspect that all religions are compatible with liberalism, Jason. Like Christianity, for example, Islam professes ideals which often outstrip the practices of its adherents. Most people seem to know enough about religion to hate one another, but not really enough to love one another. In the Christian religion, of which I know most, Jesus Christ, our Saviour, could not be clearer:
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you ... "
This includes Jews, Muslims and everyone reading 'The Third'! Of course, some of us are friends anyway, but verily I say unto you, all Jews are my older brothers and sisters and all Muslims are my younger brothers and sisters, for we all worship the same God! Hallelujah, Jason!
Last Edit: Sept 26, 2013 11:29:49 GMT -5 by Deleted