Coffeehouse Thread

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It's All Relative

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  • User profile image
    Cornelius Ellsonpeter

    We were having an offline discussion the other day about relativism. This question came up: is relativism true for all people? And if so, what if a non-relativist disagrees with you? Isn't that a contradiction?
     
    Now I know why I never majored in philosophy. Perplexed

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    Are you talking about Situational Ethics or Moral Relativism?

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    The answer is that, it is relative.

    An analogy would be if you believe in God and I don't, does God still exist? Did he ever exist at all?

    You could even introduce Einsteins relavivity theory and the same would hold true.

    The answer is that, it is relative to your beliefs and or perceptions.

     

  • User profile image
    Cybermagell​an

    You know, there are things that you have to ask yourself if they really make sense....

    People get in accidents all the time where they shouldn't live....
    Women lift entire back ends of cars to save their children sometimes...
    Diseases are found where no one can explain them/not natural....

    EVERYTHING is basically in one way or another comprised of the same matierals biologically...

    H2O, O2, etc....Magnetism attracts similar metals (components) together, and we constantly see objects that have grown together despite not naturally sharing any similarities....

    Are things like The Matrix, Superman, etc possible? Who REALLY knows?

    I'm a creationist with the thought that maybe evolution was used....

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    vesuvius wrote:
    ...You could even introduce Einsteins relavivity theory...


    Maybe I'm wrong, but how is Einstein relevant right now (pardon the pun) Smiley He was talking about physics, not morality. Relativity with regards to Gravitational Time Dilation is not the same as Relativity with regards to "Is it evil to kill kittens."

    Or maybe I'm missing something.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    
    Maybe I'm wrong, but how is Einstein relevant right now (pardon the pun) He was talking about physics, not morality. Relativity with regards to Gravitational Time Dilation is not the same as Relativity with regards to "Is it evil to kill kittens."


    Killing kittens is quantum surely?

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    
    vesuvius wrote:
    ...You could even introduce Einsteins relavivity theory...


    Maybe I'm wrong, but how is Einstein relevant right now (pardon the pun) He was talking about physics, not morality. Relativity with regards to Gravitational Time Dilation is not the same as Relativity with regards to "Is it evil to kill kittens."

    Or maybe I'm missing something.


    The real question is, if you are travelling at a speed v close to c, the speed of light in the medium you are currently in, and you emit a kitten k at a speed +u relative to yourself into a killing device, and the kitten killing device is x metres away from you, how long does it take the kitten to die horribly from

    a) Your perspective

    b) The kitten's perspective.

  • User profile image
    Cybermagell​an

    blowdart wrote:
    
    jsampsonPC wrote:
    
    Maybe I'm wrong, but how is Einstein relevant right now (pardon the pun) He was talking about physics, not morality. Relativity with regards to Gravitational Time Dilation is not the same as Relativity with regards to "Is it evil to kill kittens."


    Killing kittens is quantum surely?


    Only if you're Schrodinger

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger's_cat

    Ergh....link appears in editor, not in post?

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    
    vesuvius wrote:
    ...You could even introduce Einsteins relavivity theory...


    Maybe I'm wrong, but how is Einstein relevant right now (pardon the pun) He was talking about physics, not morality. Relativity with regards to Gravitational Time Dilation is not the same as Relativity with regards to "Is it evil to kill kittens."

    Or maybe I'm missing something.


    I'm coming at it from the point of observers. Morality or Einsteins relativity theory, all need to be observed by humans or whatever. Their perception is the key here. 'Schroedingers Cat' is just a thought experiment (albeit irrefutable).

    A philosopher may well argue that a table doesn't exist. But he will still have his dinner off one!

  • User profile image
    esoteric

    vesuvius wrote:
    A philosopher may well argue that a table doesn't exist. But he will still have his dinner off one!


    Don't bet your cat on it.

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    Curiosity, a matter-less activity of thought, killed the cat, which is comprised of space-distorting matter...how interesting.

    I think we're onto something here.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    Curiosity, a matter-less activity of thought


    thought is matter less? but you cannot have thought without someone to "host" it.

  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    Says who?

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    blowdart wrote:
    
    jsampsonPC wrote:
    Curiosity, a matter-less activity of thought


    thought is matter less? but you cannot have thought without someone to "host" it.


    Uhuh. Thought is virtual in the same way that software is virtual. Although software (thought) cannot exist (in a detectable way) without hardware (the brain).

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    vesuvius wrote:
    
    I'm coming at it from the point of observers. Morality or Einsteins relativity theory, all need to be observed by humans or whatever. Their perception is the key here. 'Schroedingers Cat' is just a thought experiment (albeit irrefutable).

    A philosopher may well argue that a table doesn't exist. But he will still have his dinner off one!


    I think it's worth disassociating physical relativity from moral relativity.

    Physical relativity is a fact. It happens, whether you like it or not. It is a consequence of the laws of the universe.

    Morality on the other hand is a mechanism by which humans determine whether an action is "right" or "wrong". Although we can debate whether moral relativism is "right", it is not a fact - i.e. moral absolutism can plausibly exist, although physical absolutism cannot.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    evildictaitor wrote:
    
    blowdart wrote:
    
    jsampsonPC wrote:
    Curiosity, a matter-less activity of thought


    thought is matter less? but you cannot have thought without someone to "host" it.


    Uhuh. Thought is virtual in the same way that software is virtual. Although software (thought) cannot exist (in a detectable way) without hardware (the brain).


    Ah but, even at a low low level we're talking atoms, electrons and lower, without which it cannot exist at all

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    blowdart wrote:
    Ah but, even at a low low level we're talking atoms, electrons and lower, without which it cannot exist at all


    One could argue that with software it is the sequence of electrons, rather than the electrons themselves which are important. One could potentially concieve of a hydraulic or mechanical computer which "ran" using water particles or billiard balls or light particles instead of electrons.

    Simmiarly, in terms of AI, some software simulation (assume that one is possible) of the brain could simulate thought without the presence of an actual brain at all.

    This is what I mean by the term "virtual" - that it is not an inherent property of the medium by which the action takes place, but rather by an inherent property of the structure imposed on the medium by the virtual "concept" itself.

    This being said, without any medium at all, virtual objects simply do not exist, unless you're going to get all metaphysical on me (since I can't prove their nonexistence).

  • User profile image
    Cornelius Ellsonpeter

    blowdart wrote:
    
    evildictaitor wrote:
    
    blowdart wrote:
    
    jsampsonPC wrote:
    Curiosity, a matter-less activity of thought
    thought is matter less? but you cannot have thought without someone to "host" it.
    Uhuh. Thought is virtual in the same way that software is virtual. Although software (thought) cannot exist (in a detectable way) without hardware (the brain).
    Ah but, even at a low low level we're talking atoms, electrons and lower, without which it cannot exist at all
    I was under the impression that electrons exist now in clouds of probability...not as absolute particles with fixed locations in space at a given time.

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