The Instigator
SinNoMore
Con (against)
Tied
6 Points
The Contender
1111111111
Pro (for)
Tied
6 Points

Can something be true for you, but not be true for me?

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,447 times Debate No: 31777
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

SinNoMore

Con

-My argument is for the existence of objective truth, and therefore against the philosophy of relativism.

-I am arguing that certain things are not merely a matter of one's own perspective or interpretation.

-By objective truth I mean something that is true (Corresponding to reality) no matter what anyone thinks about it.

-I am arguing for a logical and concrete view of reality, by which I mean that reality is reality, and not not reality.

-I concede that certain things are matters of opinion, such as one's favorite color; however even this, in a sense, is objective when put into the 3rd person ("It is objectively true that person A's favorite color is blue, and person B's favorite color is red."). My main focus will be on proving that real, objective facts and truths exist and can be known that are not matters of subjective opinion; especially Historical, Scientific, Theological, Ethical, and Logical truths.

-As it follows, I am arguing for the possibility to be either right or wrong in one's beliefs or opinions.

*In terms of personal background and reasons for interest in starting this debate, I am arguing as one who once held to a rather relativistic worldview in earlier years, but has now accepted and believed the claim of the God-man who boldly declared, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me." -Jesus, the Christ.*
1111111111

Pro

Well, I am arguing that something can indeed be true for me, but not true for you.
I do believe in objective truth, everything that one can see, smell, hear, touch and taste.
But there is one problem. We have our thoughts. Thoughts and observations can mix up with each other, therefore my perception of reality is completely different than yours.
Take a blind man for example. He cannot see, therefore his objective truth is quite different then ours.

If we see a phone, it would be an atomic fact that it has four sides. That is undeniable. The objective truth for any healthy human being. But the potential of it, what it cannot do, what it can do, is not neccessarily a mere assumption but rather an opinion because you can interpret things differently.
Truth at most times, is in the eye of the beholder. Especially when encountering moral issues or ethic ones.
I oppose the idea that one could be either right or wrong about every opinion.
Say: Person A believes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but person B opposes this idea.
How can that be justified as being right or wrong?
Or another example: Albert Einstein was more intelligent than Ludwig Wittgenstein.
It cannot be justified completely.
Debate Round No. 1
SinNoMore

Con

So then, if things like morals and ethics and truth depend upon your culture, context, or even personal choices, does that then mean that evil actions by Nazis or terrorists can be simply explained away with something like, "We don't like it, but they have their reasons"? That is a seriously flawed view. However, this is what a relativist claims.

Here's why relativism ("It's all relative," "That's true for you but not for me," "That's just your reality," "Who are you to impose your values on others?") is false:

A. Relativism cannot escape proclaiming a truth that corresponds to reality.
"The moon is made of cheese" is false because it does not match up with the way things are, with what is the case. As a Christian, I claim the biblical story is true because it conforms to the actualities of God's existence and His dealings with human beings. Truth is a relationship--a match up with what is real or actual. An idea is false when it does not. But what of those making such claims as "Reality is like a wet lump of clay--we can shape it any way we want"? We can rightly call such statements into question. After all, these persons believe that their view corresponds to the way things are. If you disagree with them, they believe you are wrong. Notice too, that they believe there is at least one thing that is not subject to human manipulation--namely, the unshakable reality that reality is like a wet lump of clay that we can shape any way we want to! So we can ask: "Is that lump-of-clay idea something you made up?" If it applies to everyone, then the statement is incoherent. If it doesn't, then it's nothing more than one's perspective. Why take it seriously? And if there's no objective truth or reality, how do we know our beliefs are not delusional?

B. Relativism is self-contradictory.
A relativist will say that your belief is true for you but his is true for him; there is no objective truth that applies to all people. The only problem is that this statement itself is an objective truth that applies to all people! (Even when he says, "That's true for you but not for me," he believes his view applies to more than one person!) To show the self-contradictory nature of relativism, we can simply preface relativistic assertions this way: "It's objectively true that 'That's true for you but nor for me'" or "It's true that 'There is no truth.'" The bold contradiction becomes apparent. Or what of the line that sincere belief makes something (Buddhism, Marxism, Christianity) true? We must ask, is this principle universal and absolute? Is it true even if I don't sincerely believe it? That is, what if I sincerely believe that sincere belief does not make something real? Both views obviously cannot be true.

C. The basis and conclusion of relativism are objectively true.
Ask the relativist why he/she takes this view. They'll probably say, "So many people believe so many different things." The problem here is that they believe this to be universally true and beyond dispute. Furthermore, they believe that the logical conclusion to draw from the vast array of beliefs is that relativism must be the case. The relativist doesn't believe that all these different beliefs are a matter of personal preference. The basis for relativism (the variety of beliefs), and the conclusion that relativism obviously follows from it, turn out to be logical and objectively true--for al people, and not just the relativist!

D. Relativism will always be selective.
People usually aren't relativists about the law of gravity, drug prescription labels, or the stock index. They're usually relativists when it comes to God's existence, sexual morality, or cheating on exams. But try cutting in line in front of a relativist, helping yourself to his property, or taking a sledgehammer to his car-- and you will find out that he believes his rights have been violated! Rights and relativism don't mix. But if "it's all relative," why get mad at anyone?

E. Relativism is usually motivated by a personal agenda--the drive for self-control.
Atheist philosopher John Searle uncovers what's behind relativism: "It satisfies a basic urge to power. It just seems too disgusting, somehow, that we should have to be at the mercy of the 'real world.'" We want to be in charge. Now, pointing out one's motivation is not an argument against relativism; still it's a noteworthy consideration. Truth often takes a backseat to freedom. But clearly, when a person shrugs off arguments for the inescapability of objective truth with "Whatever," he has another agenda in mind. Relativism makes no personal demands upon us--to love God, to be people of integrity, to help improve society. Even if relativism is false, it is convenient.
1111111111

Pro

You're giving me the awful impression that you do not understand my arguments. I never said that everything is a matter of opinion. What I am saying is that not everything is true or false. You cannot possibly divide the world into truths and lies. Many things stay subjective. They do not have an absolute truth because they might be controversial. It only makes sense to say that not everything on this planet can be completely justified.

My opponent also believes in what the bible says. He is contradicting himself right there because there is no shred of evidence for the existence of these miraculous events. So you might believe in biblical truth yet most scientists oppose your view and so do I. Believing is not knowing.
another silly example:
A schoolmate of yours said that your mom is mean. It might be true for him but you do not agree with him because you've also seen your mother on good days. Therefore, it's a matter of belief or opinion.
Believing is mostly assuming. That's what we do in our everyday lives.

By the way, I have never ever met a relativist who said that everything is relative.
Yes, there is an indisputable objective truth like that apple on that tree. Agreed.
But what about moral issues? Or how to raise a child? Or social inequality? All these big questions are a matter of perception.
Debate Round No. 2
SinNoMore

Con

My main arguments have been set forth in Round Two; they are going to be the core of my side of the debate. I will now take this round to offer a few quick rebuttals and to pose a question.

"What I am saying is that not everything is true or false." I agree; I do not see in black and white on every matter, see my fifth point of Round One.

"They do not have an absolute truth because they might be controversial." That is a non-sequitur. Just because something is controversial does not mean that there is no objective truth pertaining to it. For example, when Galileo theorized that the solar system was heliocentric and not geocentric, it was extremely controversial. But did that make it any less true? No. The solar system is in fact heliocentric, and it was that way even when people thought that it was geocentric. Or we can take your blind man example. You said that "If we see a phone, it would be an atomic fact that it has four sides. That is undeniable. The objective truth for any healthy human being," and yet you say "Take a blind man for example. He cannot see, therefore his objective truth is quite different th[a]n ours." By definition, an objective truth cannot be "different" in the literal sense of the word for one person than it is for another person. The phone has four sides, even though the blind man cannot see that. The phone has four sides no matter what the blind man thinks, or perceives, or observes. He may believe that the phone has six sides; his perception is not unreasonable, after all, he is blind. Nonetheless, he is in fact wrong in his belief that the phone has six sides, because in reality it has four sides. Even if the whole world was blind, and everyone agreed that the phone had six sides, it would not change the fact that the phone has only four sides. I think that this example can be applied to the realm of morality as well, because physical (that is, scientific) knowledge is not the only valid and objective knowledge (to say so would be a non-scientific assertion, not provable by science, and therefore self-contradictory).

"My opponent also believes in what the [B]ible says. He is contradicting himself right there because there is no shred of evidence for the existence of these miraculous events." Firstly, my mention of my belief in the Bible was just an example that I used to support point A in Round Two. Secondly, I see no contradiction between arguing against relativism and believing the Bible to be true. The Bible, in fact, has plenty of evidence for it and for the events described in it, but that is a debate for another day. I want to get down to the nitty-gritty. The Bible is either true, or it is false. Within its own pages it claims to be the true Word of God. It cannot be the half-true Word of God, it either is or it isn't. So I cannot say that it is true for me, but it is not true for you. I may PERCIEVE it to be true, and you may be PERCIEVE it to be false, but in reality it is either true or false, no matter which one we perceive it be. Do not confuse the two different topics of WHETHER any certain statement is true or false, and CAN any certain statement be true or false. I think that the point you're trying to make is that it is impossible to discern which topics can or cannot be objectively true or false.

"Believing is not knowing." "Believing is mostly assuming." I find these statements to be very ambiguous. But I digress, to use my point A argument, is it objectively true that "Believing is mostly assuming"? Is it true for everyone, no matter what they think about it? Or is it just your opinion? If I disagree with you, am I wrong, or is it just not "true" for me?

"A schoolmate...or opinion." My mom is complex, and not simply "mean" or "nice." However, her actual personality is an objective fact. The real truth of the matter is that my mom is in fact one way, and not another; even though my schoolmate perceives her to be mean. His perception of her is incomplete, and though he may think it to be true, it is not, because it does not match up to reality.

"By the way, I have never met a relativist who said that everything is relative." See points D and E in Round Two.

"But what about moral issues? Or how to raise a child? Or social inequality? All these big questions are a matter of perception." This is a nice Segway into the dilemma I have posed below.

Is it wrong to torture, rape, and kill babies?

Those who say that this is only a matter of perception are either stubborn or not healthy.

I would like to thank my opponent for the time that he has taken out of his day to participate in this debate :)
1111111111

Pro

The problem here is that it all comes down to ones own perception.
I might just want to add that the impression comes first, then the idea. So our first observations we make are one's of objective truth. It's the observation of one's environment with his limited senses.
Later on, when the brain continues to develope, you then have the ability to have thoughts about observations. This gives one an idea. About love, emotions, and so on and so forth.
So, we are all relativists in some way.

If you really believe in what the bible claims then you can, with no doubt say that your belief is subjective. Like an ideology or a theory.

Done talking
thank you to my opponent for an intriguing debate
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Gondun 4 years ago
Gondun
Oh, never mind, i guess you can change your vote.
Posted by Gondun 4 years ago
Gondun
Crap, I meant to vote pro, but accidentally clicked con. Could someone vote pro to fix it?
Posted by TheSlenderMan 4 years ago
TheSlenderMan
Good topic. But Pros first argument doesn't make sense. If a phone has four sides then it has four sides...just because a blind person doesn't realize that doesn't make it less true. With that logic we could say that when people thought the earth was flat then it was not round during that time.

A fact is a fact weather one recognizes it or not. If the world is somehow square shape and we just don't know it yet that doesn't make it not square shape.
Posted by elvroin_vonn_trazem 4 years ago
elvroin_vonn_trazem
Con is making other mistakes, as well. Consider the statement "I interact with my biological parents regularly." This statement can very easily be True for many persons, but False for anyone whose parents died in an accident shortly after birth. So, because it is well known that such situations exist, and the description "fits" with the Resolution of this Debate, it is clear that the Resolution is absolutely True (because it wasn't phrased precisely enough).

Then there is the fact that Con seems to be interpreting "different" as including only the options of True and False, while in actual fact "different" can include many shades of grey. In Relativistic Physics, it is NORMAL for "different" to be more-associated with "variations" than with "true/false".

So now consider cannibalism. In some cultures cannibalism was considered to be the most proper way to honor a fallen enemy. In others the practice was reviled. Is there an actual "right" or "wrong" here? Do you know what Science has to say on the subject? Basically, this: We can eat beef "rare" because cattle and humans share very few diseases. We eat pork well-cooked because humans and pigs share a number of diseases, and thorough cooking is the only way to ensure that disease-organisms get killed. And it is possible to catch just about any disease from another human, so that could be a real good reason to avoid eating human flesh.

http://www.amazon.com...

OR to cook human flesh most extremely thoroughly, first! Take your pick....
Posted by LT4963 4 years ago
LT4963
This is a really good topic for a debate. :D I look forward to seeing round 2 and 3!
Posted by SinNoMore 4 years ago
SinNoMore
This is my first debate on Debate.org, and I think that I mistakenly entered information that I intended to be a description of and introduction to the debate as my first argument. The Contender may very well enter his arguments in round one, or simply state what he is going to be arguing and so forth as I have, either of which I am okay with. My bad, newbie mistake.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by justin.graves 4 years ago
justin.graves
SinNoMore1111111111Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro used flawed arguments and logic. Pro had a poor idea of "truth." He seemed to replace truth with opinion. Sad debate.
Vote Placed by MaqicDan 4 years ago
MaqicDan
SinNoMore1111111111Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Nice debate, I expected you to be throwing chairs by the last round, Its nice to see that you stayed rather formal throughout
Vote Placed by Gondun 4 years ago
Gondun
SinNoMore1111111111Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con seemed to be trying to disprove the idea that everything is relative. Maybe this is what he had in mind when he created the debate, but my impression was that he had to prove that everything was objective. The Con nicely proved many things objective, but did not prove morality objective. For this reason I'm going to have to vote Pro.