The Instigator
faith-reason
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
XimenBao
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Relativism is philisophically contradictive

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
XimenBao
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,309 times Debate No: 23642
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

faith-reason

Pro

Relativism is, by virtue of its nature, 100% contradictive. If one was to say, "Truth depends on one's point of view" s/he would be expressing an objective principal and therefore contradicting him/herself.
XimenBao

Con

C1. Quick Rebuttal:

"Truth depends on one's point of view" spoken by a relativist is a truth relative to the speaker, thus not an objective principle, thus voiding Pro's argument.

C2. Long Rebuttal:

The resolution puts relativism in a philisophical context, but fails to define it.

As defined in the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Relativism is not a single doctrine but a family of views whose common theme is that some central aspect of experience, thought, evaluation, or even reality is somehow relative to something else.[1]"

Nothing in the definition of relativism neccesarily prohibits the acceptance of all objective statements in all circumstances.

So, by viture of it's nature, relativism is not self-contradictory. Saying that "truth depends on one's point of view" is an expression that what one group/person considers truth is going to be different from what another person considers truth, and depending on the issue under consideration, there may not be an objective way to determine which is right.

If someone agrees that there isn't neccesarily one best kind of ice-cream flavor but instead, the truth about what the best flavor is will depend on one's point of view, then that person is a relativist regarding ice-cream flavor value. Accepting that the best flavor of ice-cream is relative doesn't require the belief that you can't make any objective statement about anything.

Since Pro's claim is that ALL relativism is self-contradictory, as indicated by his claim that it is "100% contradictive" Pro must argue that all views in the family of relativism are contradictory. Picking out a single or few of the least defensible ones will not suffice.

[1]http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
faith-reason

Pro

First of all I would like to say thank you for being respectful and objective in your argument.
But all relativistic points of view present a certain contradiction on the basis of a common reality that we all experience because they differ from one another and therefore they do not agree upon an objective existance of the universe we percieve. You brought up the example of ice cream flavours, and this is an experience which many people can engage in and each have different experiences of, but they still contradict one another even though it seems objective to the person tasting them. The definition of taste according to Merriam-Webster is "a sensation obtained from a substance in the mouth that is typically produced by the stimulation of the sense of taste combined with those of touch and smell". The person who tastes the ice cream will most likely taste something different from someone else who tastes the same flavour and like or dislike it. The act of choice to like or dislike something is based on the person's opinion of the subject in question is the reality of that one person. But this is only qualitative and therefore varies due to one's genes, senses, personality etc. But if one claims that everyone's ice cream perseption is TRUE than they are contradicting themselves because everyone perceives the objective item differently though its objective form remains the same. So where to draw the line? All things that are subject to different perception of each person based on qualatative aspects are not part of this argument, sorry if I had not made that clear earlier.
XimenBao

Con

You're quite welome. If nothing else, the debates on this site are generally good about staying civil.

I'll let my leading little 'gotcha' argument drop in the name of good sportsmanship.

I agree with my opponent that relativist positions "differ from one another and therefore they do not agree upon an objective existance of the universe we percieve." As I said in my R1, all relativist positions involve some aspect of experience, perception, etc, being relative to something else rather than being fixed in an objective existence. However, this doesn't create a self-contradiction, because relativism doesn't claim anything contrary to this.

How relativism works is captured in the ice-cream example, which Pro captures succinctly when he says, "the person's opinion of the subject in question is the reality of that one person." Since Pro grants the concept of a reality for that one person, it's impossible to deny that they have an opinion about what they think the best ice-cream flavor is. The best flavor is going to be relative. Different people will choose different flavors. However, for one person, the best ice-cream flavor is a truth in their reality.

Pro argues that by claiming that everyone's perception is true, then the relativist is contradicting themselves because the perceptions are different but the ice-cream is the same. This isn't a contradiction, and Pro doesn't make clear why he thinks it is. The different perceptions about the same ice-cream means that the truthful answer to the question, "which is the best flavor" is relative to the person making the claim. It might be true for Jim that vanilla is the best flavor, and it might be true that for Joe that chocolate is the best flavor. There isn't an objective answer to the question. That's not a contradiction of relativism. That is relativism.

This is also why Pro doesn't get to define away relativism in his last sentence. If you're talking about questions that are not subject to different perceptions, qualitative appraisals,judgements, values, beliefs, or ways of thinking between people, you aren't talking about relativism. That vast majority of relativist views say nothing about the physical structure of the ice-cream staying constant. They have everything to say about people's perceptions of that ice-cream. It's quite unfair to start a debate about relativism being contradictory, and then disallow all situations that relativism actually deals with.
Debate Round No. 2
faith-reason

Pro

faith-reason forfeited this round.
XimenBao

Con

FF, extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
faith-reason

Pro

faith-reason forfeited this round.
XimenBao

Con

FF, extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
faith-reason

Pro

faith-reason forfeited this round.
XimenBao

Con

FF Vote Con
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
faith-reasonXimenBaoTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for forfeit and sources for actual sources on Con's part. On arguments, Con secured the win mainly from simply pointing out that some values or appraisals will by their very nature not yield to an objective answer. The best flavor of ice-cream was a good example. Even though a relativist wouldn't deny that we all experience the same physical stuff when we eat ice-cream, that doesn't preclude an inherent relativism in one's specific valuations. S/G for spelling errors in the title by Pro.