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All Absolutism Is Bad

Heh. Do you see what I did there?

But absolutism is a real problem. Not least because it seems to drive modern conversation. We write in absolutist terms (like I'm doing right now). We take absolute positions.

Why is that a problem? Because the world isn't absolute. It's not binary. It's analog, which means there are infinite fractions things can and are divided into.

For any real world subject there are a crazy number of intersecting variables that make it essentially impossible for any single answer to be right more than once.

And yet, it's what we do. We take firm moral and political stances and announce that this is how it is. How it will always be. We even denounce politicians for changing their minds as though that is actually a bad thing.

Discusions on religion, politics and many other issues are blocked again and again by a refusal to look at compromise and pragmatism. Instead always pushing for all of what we want and none of what the others want.
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Herrin Larkan's profile photoDanial Hallock (Kysimir)'s profile photoEoghann Irving's profile photoAlec Wisner's profile photo
17 comments
 
Only a sith deals in absolutes.

Seriously though, for the most part I agree; there are exceptions though.
 
I'd be interested to hear what exceptions you can come up with. Because so far I've found an exception to every supposed absolute I can think of.
 
As long as we are somewhere between total certainty and absolute doubt we are open to new information. Either of those extremes is like a safe haven that's actually infested with spiders that eventually bite us or someone else.
 
I absolutely must eat, expel waste, and bring in enough oxygen to keep my cells from dying.

I absolutely must not stab myself in the eye with pencils.

Actions that cause the imminent destruction of the Earth are absolutely bad.

There aren't many exceptions, but there are a few. :D
 
And yet some people do those things you mention to themselves and others. Usually out of a sense of unquestioned belief. We are in fact causing our oxygen to be depleted, out of denial and a refusal to acknowledge external laws. Laws that operate independently from us. I think what he stated is right.The bottom line is people become dicks when they believe in absolutes.
 
Well debunking absolutism with any absolute authority (teehee) is fallacious in and of itself.  It suggests that everything can be solved by a compromise/middle ground of two competing theories which is simply not the case.  Probably the most fundamental absolute law is that there is an absolute law for everything.

The law may be convoluted, but given a certain parameters there will always be a certain result.  E.g.  If I drop a pencil it will fall at a certain rate of speed... if we were on the moon, it would still fall at a certain rate of speed, simply modified for a change in parameters.

So the law may be as convoluted as (If I drop X on Y, then Z)  rather than what we might prefer (If I drop A, then B); but the law absolutely exists.  We can't compromise to find a middle ground of (If I drop X on Y, then B).
 
Okay, let's see +Danial Hallock 

You must keep yourself from dying? Why? Maybe someone else would be better off if you were dead?

You mustn't stab yourself in the eye? Why? I agree it's probably a bad idea to do it, but why must you not? If you do it, it will hurt, but you will probably survive and if you have one good eye you're actually still fully functional.

Give me an action that actually causes the imminent destruction of Earth. Otherwise I think it's a bit to sci-fi a scenario.
 
Of course +Danial Hallock which is why I used the self-mocking title I did. Absolutism is dangerous even if you're absolutely sure that that is what is dangerous.

But again to your example.. sure the pencil falls at a set speed. But what if it hits something on the way down?

There my be a law behind everything but the interactions are too complex to predict and always will be.
 
Then it stops falling, and therefore the law acting on that pencil changes.  The law of a pencil falling doesn't change, it remains absolute and unwavering; it simply is no longer acting on that pencil as a second law (a pencil acting on another object) comes into play.  

Plus, to use some recursion on you: even if your argument were valid and all absolutist theories were instantly disproven then your argument itself would be disproven thus removing the need to disprove the original theories at all.

Though, I think we're kind of getting tangential to the original point behind your post, which I was a bit more axiological than the current epistemological swamp we're wading into.  >.>
 
The law itself does not change +Danial Hallock. But our perception and understanding of what happened does.

And that's the key thing here. Even if there is an absolute law. We don't know it. We don't understand it. We're not in a position to take a stand on it.
 
And we never will if we water what we do understand down to wishy washy compromised theories.
 
Real life is governed by scientific theories, and governance has a way of permeating its way into "real life" in very annoying ways.

After all, we don't leave our homes through the second floor window. :)
 
It's only governed indirectly +Danial Hallock and also it's affected by so many that again you can't really apply an absolute to what will happen.

If you leave via the 2nd floor window will you fall... or climb down a ladder, or step out onto another rooftop. or is the house built on a slope such that on one side the second floor actually is at ground level?

All could happen. All are valid. So the absolute that we cannot leave via a 2nd floor window isn't actually absolute at all.
 
-_-

Let's just save ourselves some time and drill down to the only logical bedrock that follows this thought path:

Knowledge is impossible; the only thing I know is that I think, therefore I am.
 
On that I would agree +Danial Hallock. I after all have no way of knowing that this conversation is even happening outside of my head. Everything is perception and filtering.
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