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Wil Franklin's picture

relativism constrained


You make an important point about relative perspectives. Further, I agree that each and everyone of us has a slightly different view and the importance of us to consider each others perspective. This is an important aspect of relativism and is in contrast to fundamentalism. Fundamentalism for one, makes a claim to authority and priviledge and thus to "TRUTH". This can be dangerous for many obvious reason (in the age of 9/11 - I hope this is obvious). On the other hand, relativism can also be dangerous. If relativism in it's extreme is taken to it's logical conclusion then nothing can be judged or compared. How does one adjudicate amoung "stories"? How does one make a decision as to what is "less wrong"?

I firmly believe that fundamentalism is dangerous, but I feel strongly that relativism is not the whole story. Physical laws of nature, historical events, and the sum total of all current context limits the world we know. This means that the world is constrained and not everything is possible.


Thus, I am fully aware when I warn teachers of the inner-city that they must take care to nuture human nature. Paul Grobstein says it best in his post below. Let me just say that the "best way" as you put it, to get out of the system is not necessarily to "climb the ladder". It seems to me, if that was the case, we would not be having this conversation...we would not need to bring up social justice.


The point I really want to make is that nature (the sum total of our reality) limits what we can know. And consequently, some "stories" are "less wrong". I want to strongly suggest, in no uncertain terms, that we need to re-think the dicotomy you set up - nuturing inquiry versus transmitting skills to climb the social ladder - and come down on the side of human nature.


Thanks for your important comments.



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