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A discussion regarding the nature of truth.

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1.According to Mackie, what do disagreements about moral codes reflect? Do you agree? Why or why not?
Mackie says that disagreements about moral codes reflect a difference in beliefs that societies hold to rather than a difference in truth itself. Truth is absolute while beliefs are relative.

Yes, I agree with Mackie.

In nearly every area of life there is absolute truth. This is true of science, math, the weather, etc. We base our lives on the belief that absolute truth really exists. The only thing we disagree on is who gets to decide what the absolute truth is. For example, an evolutionist claims to be open-minded and not be blinded by legalistic, religious ideas. However, in an open discussion with a creationist the evolutionist begins his discussion with the admitted assumption that God cannot and does not exist. Well, that is an absolute statement completely removed from science.

There are many other issues that we as an American society believe to be absolutely true.
? Pre-meditated, cold-blooded murder is wrong.
? Human trafficking is wrong.
? Pedophiles should be incarcerated.
? Government should not establish a national religion.
If we do not believe that some truths are absolute then how do we justify believing in these laws and values? The truth is that nearly all people do believe that truth is absolute they just disagree on who should determine what those absolutes are.

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Questions/Answers:

1.According to Mackie, what do disagreements about moral codes reflect? Do you agree? Why or why not?
Mackie says that disagreements about moral codes reflect a difference in beliefs that societies hold to rather than a difference in truth itself. Truth is absolute while beliefs are relative.

Yes, I agree with Mackie.

In nearly every area of life there is absolute truth. This is true of science, math, the weather, etc. We base our lives on the belief that absolute truth really exists. The only thing we disagree on is who gets to decide what the absolute truth is. For example, an evolutionist claims to be open-minded and not be blinded by legalistic, religious ideas. However, in an open discussion with a creationist the evolutionist begins his discussion with the admitted assumption that God cannot and does not exist. Well, that is an absolute statement completely removed from science.

There are many other issues that we as an American society believe to be absolutely true.
? Pre-meditated, cold-blooded murder is wrong.
? Human trafficking is wrong.
? Pedophiles should be incarcerated.
? Government should not establish a national religion.
If we do not believe that some truths are absolute then how do we justify believing in these laws and values? The truth is that nearly all people do believe that truth is absolute they just disagree on who should determine what those absolutes are.

2.Give two examples of a moral practice that you think seems to be culturally relative.

1. A good one that I can think of is losing your temper. Now, an American would say "what's the big deal, everyone loses their temper." In America we have been conditioned to accept the fact that people lose their ...

Solution Summary

This is a discussion about truth and its nature. Is truth relative or absolute? How does society's view of truth impact its people and quality of life? Over 1,200 words of original text.

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Discussion Question help...

This week, we are treated to readings involving late nineteenth and early twentieth century philosophy, specifically utilitarianism, pragmatism, and the glorious, terrifying whirling dervish that is Friedrich Nietzsche. Each marks a profoundly new approach to the world, and each recasts long-standing philosophical questions in a different light.

For utilitarians such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, ethics is the supreme (and perhaps only) area of philosophical concern. The understanding of the physical world is largely handed over to the physical sciences, but understanding of the social / political world (and one's place within it) remains the province of philosophy.

By establishing pleasure (whether simple or refined) as the ultimate criterion of value and articulating a 'principle of utility' as the means by which action (whether individual or socio-political) is to be judged, utilitarianism hopes to secure "the greatest happiness for the greatest number" of people. Such "greatest happiness", then, is the closest thing that utilitarians have to an idea of "justice". Hence the goodness or badness, justice or injustice, of any action is to be determined solely on the basis of the benefit or harm that its consequences render to the "greatest happiness of the greatest number".

Consequences (i.e. the results of action) are also important to pragmatists like Pierce and Dewey, but they are rather more modest than utilitarians with regard to how clearly the full consequences of any action can be known. Instead, pragmatists are intensely concerned with what *works*. Hence, pragmatists focus upon seeking to discover ever new and better concepts, methods, and hypotheses to account for the *workings* of nature, and don't concern themselves so much with the *knowing* of it. In fact, pragmatists tend to reduce all of our so-called "knowledge" to *beliefs* (i.e. habits of action) about how things *work* in nature.

So from the pragmatist's perspective, the test of "truth" is the test of nature, which is to say that if a belief of ours tends to produce the results we expect of it, then we can regard it as being 'true'. With the understanding, of course, that it will stop being 'true' as soon as it no longer entails the expected result in the wider, natural world.

For Friedrich Nietzsche, however, such outward-looking criteria of 'justice' or 'truth' are woefully mistaken. Nietzsche maintains that such things (or at least as close as we can get to them) are achieved only through the INDIVIDUAL. What is needed, Nietzsche claims, is a "revaluation of values" in a conceptual space "beyond good and evil" (i.e. not limited or constrained by pre-existing and/or traditional judgements of nature and morality) in order for the INDIVIDUAL to discover what is true and false, good and bad, right and wrong FOR HIM (or HER) SELF ALONE.

Such a "revaluing" can occur only in the setting of the hard and lonely labor of the INDIVIDUAL's "self-overcoming". Looking *outward* for moral guidance can result only in either a "master morality" (which says, in effect, "We are better than they are, because we can control them") or a "slave morality" (which says, in effect, "You must be as weak and harmless as we are, because otherwise we will hate you").

Rejecting *both* of these false and stifling (Nietzsche terms them "life-denying") moralities is one of the first steps in moving "beyond good and evil" into the "clear and bracing air" of one's "self-overcoming". We cannot even begin to understand what we truly *are*, Nietzsche maintains, unless and until we stop listening to (and, worse, simply accepting) what the world tells us we *should be*.

So, the question is this:

Of the three approaches to nature (utilitarian consequentialism, pragmatist naturalism, and Nietzschian individualism), which do you believe provides the best (or at least better) answer to the critically important question of "What is the world and my own place / role within it?" And, as ever and always, WHY do you think so?

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