Is everything relative?

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Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 09:36 am
If not, what isn't?

[Moderator edit: thread moved to more appropriate forum. jgw]
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 09:54 am
@Riverdale,
Perhaps a statement of what one means by relative in the questioning, and whether "everything" is really to be included in the discussion, is in order. The current form is like asking "what is?"---which in its very generality does not even permit the framing of a reply that could be made here.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 10:39 am
@jgweed,
Information requires 'relative'; data does not. So... which is the universe? Our minds automatically see information, context, like a principle in how we're able to remember only some things.
 
boagie
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 10:44 am
@Holiday20310401,
Hi Y'all!Smile

It is a relational world, a relative world, there is no other possiablity, even reduceing it down to the simplist form of subject and object, the relation between these two, gives you apparent reality. Reality is relational.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 10:51 am
@Riverdale,
Isn't this an epistemology or metaphysics topic rather than logic?
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 12:20 pm
@Riverdale,
The universe, seen as information, is relative. It is MY information.
Perhaps understood differently, as a posited independent domain of physical occasions, it is not relative.
 
boagie
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 01:03 pm
@jgweed,
Jgweed,Smile

If it was not relative, you could say nothing about it, apparent reality is perception is it not, entirely dependent upon your biology. Ultimate reality is quiet another thing, it cannot be reality for us because it is not defined by our biology. So, you are right in as much as ultimate reality is not realtive to our biology, as far as we know. An old saying comes to mind however. "It is the unknown which supports the known."
 
zombus
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 01:24 pm
@boagie,
everything is relative, is an absolute truth, making it not relative, meaning not everything is relative due to there being at least 1 absolute truth.
 
validity
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 01:28 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Hi Y'all!Smile

It is a relational world, a relative world, there is no other possiablity, even reduceing it down to the simplist form of subject and object, the relation between these two, gives you apparent reality. Reality is relational.


Very well put boagie Smile
 
boagie
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 01:37 pm
@zombus,
zombus wrote:
everything is relative, is an absolute truth, making it not relative, meaning not everything is relative due to there being at least 1 absolute truth.


Zombus,Smile

And seeing as you can make that statement, means it is relative to you.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 07:49 am
@boagie,
"Everything" is awfully inclusive. It's one of those marvelous words I can't stand (like "forever", "always" and "never").

As experienced or viewed by any creature, all things are indeed relative to that being. Outside of any being's perception or experience, there is no relativity at all - things, I believe, simply 'are'. There is, I believe, an objective truth, knowledge, state or history on anything that exists; whether or not we can ever know that without "relativeness" is quite another issue. Important to make the differentiation, methinks.

So, I guess my answer for the question as stated, would be "No".

Thanks
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 10:22 am
@Khethil,
khethil,Smile

Science has for sometime searched for that substance from which all things are made, ony to find that, under their microscopes what they see is form without substance, meaning I think that it is all energy. I doubt however for our purposes you could point to something in being and claim it is made out of a single substance, and then you have to consider the conditions under which it is in being, its context, just as there is no such thing as a closed system, so to there is no object/thing which is not supported by its context, a fish out of water is quite another thing than the fish in water. Certainly if you wish to deny the relational nature of all things as entities, you cannot deny the relational nature of all things to their context. If indeed things were not relational, there would be no science of physics, for there would be nothing to decern.

By defination there is no such thing as a closed system, thus comes the principle of relationalism, you could claim that all is one with the cosmos, but, the universe itself has not proved itself to be a closed system, it is still up for grabs. I think the above weighs heavily in favour of a realtional worldview. What is the principle you would put forward in support of independant existence? Consider also, your argument is coming from a multicellular organism, who could not exist without this concept, the coevolution of species with their environment, the coevolution of species in general, there might have been this independence of being within the primordial pool, before the concept arose that life lives upon life, but, even in that primordial pool these single celled organisms were dependent upon the context of their environment. Again I ask you upon what principle would you stake your claim for independent existence?
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 11:11 am
@Riverdale,
I and my world are mutually dependent for existence (for me), since one must be conscious (of) something; this seems to be the fundamental, irreducible dualism of human existence.

But this is not quite the same thing as saying that everything is relative, let alone relative to my existence.In principle such an assertion would be difficult to prove, although the independent existence of an "outside" world seems to account for many aspects of the phenomenal world, from the existence of Others to the workings of science.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 11:53 am
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
I and my world are mutually dependent for existence (for me), since one must be conscious (of) something; this seems to be the fundamental, irreducible dualism of human existence.

But this is not quite the same thing as saying that everything is relative, let alone relative to my existence.In principle such an assertion would be difficult to prove, although the independent existence of an "outside" world seems to account for many aspects of the phenomenal world, from the existence of Others to the workings of science.


Jgweed,Smile

Yes, I see your point I think, but, the complexity of the environment is not really understood to date. That one can subtract from it without you ceasing to exist is a point well taken, but that all things/objects or organism are of a relational nature is inescapable. It is said that there is a balance to nature, and I premise that this balance is the relational nature of the environment, when critical mass in the reduction of relations is reached, you will indeed cease to be. That conditon involves both the relations you have with other living things and the physcial environment that supports them all. It is a planet in jeopardy, and most of humanity is only vaguely aware that they are in danger, or from what the source of this danger. "Where there are no flowers, there are no bees, where there are no bees, there are no flowers." coevolution is relationalism.
 
zombus
 
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 02:14 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Zombus,Smile

And seeing as you can make that statement, means it is relative to you.


yes, relative to me, but there is an absolute truth, "everything is relative", making not, literally, everything relative. thats the relation between relativism/absolute truth and therefore absolute truth to logic.
if you were to say "some things are relative" or "nothing is relative" then that is an absolute truth that some things are relative, or nothing is relative.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 03:13 pm
@boagie,
Forgive me Boagie, I'm struggling to try and grasp what you're saying. After reading this through twice, I think I've got another piece of the puzzle (as to the extent of your original post).

boagie wrote:
Science has for sometime searched for that substance from which all things are made, ony to find that, under their microscopes what they see is form without substance, meaning I think that it is all energy. I doubt however for our purposes you could point to something in being and claim it is made out of a single substance, and then you have to consider the conditions under which it is in being, its context, just as there is no such thing as a closed system, so to there is no object/thing which is not supported by its context, a fish out of water is quite another thing than the fish in water.


Agree on the point of "form without substance" as well as considering all things within its own context. But I'll admit, I'm not sure I see how this supports "Everything is Relative".

boagie wrote:
Certainly if you wish to deny the relational nature of all things as entities, you cannot deny the relational nature of all things to their context. If indeed things were not relational, there would be no science of physics, for there would be nothing to decern.


Surely. All things, for whatever they're are or whatever we define them to be, are context-sensitive. Form changes, compositions mix, elements combine, interactions occur, environment influences and so on. With ya all the way here.

boagie wrote:
By defination there is no such thing as a closed system, thus comes the principle of relationalism, you could claim that all is one with the cosmos, but, the universe itself has not proved itself to be a closed system, it is still up for grabs.


I think I caught something here, let me rephrase and see if I've got what you're saying: Since all things (state, form, etc.) are dependent on context, it is in this way that all things can be considered to be relational <?>

boagie wrote:
I think the above weighs heavily in favour of a realtional worldview. What is the principle you would put forward in support of independant existence?


I'm not sure that'd be necessary. Can not some "thing" have an absolute form, content, composition, etc. as it really is, absent of our perceptions -and- defined as is in its current context? I couldn't, and don't think I would, try to say that anything has existence independent of its context. Again, I'm trying to see that connection you're drawing.

Thinking all this over, perhaps the postulate could be more accurately stated as: All things are relative to their context. This is a statement I'd easily defend (and inspires important insights). But "All Things are Relative" is, to me, quite a bit more wide-ranging and says (to me, anyway) that "There is nothing that is, everything is relative to whims, ideas, my wife's pot-roast, and anything else one could come up with."

I hope this makes some sense; it did to me when I wrote it Smile

Thanks
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 04:18 pm
@Khethil,
"Thinking all this over, perhaps the postulate could be more accurately stated as: All things are relative to their context. This is a statement I'd easily defend (and inspires important insights). But "All Things are Relative" is, to me, quite a bit more wide-ranging and says (to me, anyway) that "There is nothing that is, everything is relative to whims, ideas, my wife's pot-roast, and anything else one could come up with." quote



Well in truth none of us can see the big picture so to speak, but, there is enough that one can infer a network of interdependencies. Every cause has a number of effects, and if you can agree that all things are in relation to their contextual environment, I would suggest that in considering that contextual environment that you consider your pot roast part of that larger context. If you trace back the complexity of how that pot roast got to be your meal the interrelations fade into infinity and as food you must admitt it is relative to your continue existence.

That all systems are open systems give us an indication of a continuum, ok, what holds that continuum together, the fact that all systems are open and interdependent, It is a bit like that game children often play with a complex arrangement of sticks, removing one at a time the structure holds, but, a some crucial point with the removal of one stick it brings structure stumbling down. So yes, you can remove things that do not directly relate to you, do you see that indirectly you are dependent just the same, on the system/environment,and its parts, that the system is somewhat more than its parts it is agreed but it can only function as it is doing as an emergent quality of its combined parts. but you must be careful not to remove that stick which weakens the structure and/or brings it stumbling down. We are a system, and we are a system within a system within a system, if the system was so interdependent that the extinction of one thing would bring it down, then life would have ended before it got truely started. So your continued existence depends not entirely upon one particular but certainly depends upon the structure/system in it entirety. As I stated earlier, when critical mass is reached in the reduction of relations, then that is the end of the world for us all. I am not sure that satisfies your inquiry but it is serving to clearify my own thoughts on the topic.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 05:12 pm
@boagie,
Ok, yes I see where you're coming from. That first blurb sounded awfully "generalized". Yes, all things are relative... over time (and for any point in time), to their context. The past has influenced the present, which is influencing the future; each niche represents a different part of the overall picture... nothing in a complete and utter/timeless vacuum.

boagie wrote:
... So your continued existence depends not entirely upon one particular but certainly depends upon the structure/system in it entirety.


Yes, and this is quite true; all part of one large, interrelated 'network'. Cause and effect, mixing, matching, reacting, adhering, gravitating, melting, cooling... on and on it goes. Where anything "Is" - or what anything "Is" at any given time - is depending on all the forces acting upon it, past and present. Where it lies, how it lies, movement and the like - for any "snapshot" in time - all is contingent on the context in which it currently is (of course, the wider concept being the entire universal system, so to speak).

boagie wrote:
I am not sure that satisfies your inquiry, but it is serving to clearify my own thoughts on the topic.


Yep, sure does.

Many times I'll perceive what someone states, or they're wording, only in the manner in which those words were assembled. My wife says I take things too literally <sigh>. The meaning, behind these clumsy tools we have to use, often takes some effort to flesh out.

Thanks
 
OctoberMist
 
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 07:29 pm
@zombus,
zombus said:

Quote:
everything is relative, is an absolute truth, making it not relative,
meaning not everything is relative due to there being at least 1 absolute truth.


Hmmm...

It's my understanding that even relativity is relative. Calling this an 'absolute'
is correct in a purely semantic way, but not in a pragmatic way.
 
zombus
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 04:24 pm
@Riverdale,
that is the problem with the logic in saying that everything is relative, including relativity. saying that makes an absolute truth, which is not relative, it is absolute, therefore, making the statement false.
 
 

 
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