Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Moral relativism and the Pope

There is a good article in today's Guardian by the philosopher Julian Baggini. In it he takes issue with the moral teaching of the new Pope:
this crude dichotomy between the absolute moral truths of the church and the so-called laissez-faire relativism of the modern secular world is crassly simplistic.
You can read it for yourself, and Simon Titley has quoted it extensively in this posting on Liberal Dissenter, so I will not quote any more from it here.

Instead, here is a relevant thought from Joseph Schumpeter which is discussed favourably by two of my favourite modern philosophers: Isaiah Berlin in Four Essays on Liberty, and Richard Rorty in Contingency, Irony and Solidarity. It runs:
To realise the relative validity of one's convictions and yet stand for them unflinchingly, is what distinguishes a civilised man from a barbarian.

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