3.26.2006

Relativism, Power, and the Need for a Standard

So I like to think of myself as being fairly postmodern, fairly relativistic, but at the end of the day, from a technical philosophical perspective, I am definitely not a relativist or postmodern. Yet at the same time, I abhor the certainty of modernity, something the evangelical church of the 20th century loves.

So I’m kind of in a no-man’s land. Ironically, it’s one of the foundations of many conservative positions, the depravity of humanity, that helps put me in this place. I mean think about, if we are all horribly evil people, entirely dependent on the grace of God, why would we be certain of much of anything?

You can see all of this flushed out to a greater degree by reading one of Amy’s post’s on the A-Team blog, Relativism, Power, and the Need for a Standard - Part Two, which I left a number of comments on. Check it out here.

1 comment:

jpe said...

A comment I would've left at the A-Team blog:

It's always easy to call an interlocutor and be done with it. However, I don't think this comment:

"The moral charge was irrelevant to her because, for her, competing perspectives make a determination about the moral question impossible. "

is best read as relativst. Rather, it's an internalist critique of the American position vis-a-vis terrorism. It aims at showing the other that their stated position ("killing innocent is always bad") isn't rigorously followed. The upshot is that the host's criticism has to be rethought to be made internally consistent, and he can't coherently level that criticism at the Palestinians w/out implicating US policy.

An interesting question that this raises is why Christians make constant (and frequently sloppy) recourse to bogeymen like "relativism."