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Objection!
June 8, 2008 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Phoenix Wright argues about relativism in animated gift form...and the thrilling conclusion.
posted by juv3nal (42 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you for this kind animated gift
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:10 AM on June 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


From the same site, Hilarity Comics are hilarious comics
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:11 AM on June 8, 2008


WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?
posted by Xurando at 9:18 AM on June 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thank you, smellings.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:36 AM on June 8, 2008


The flaw here is that the same logic would apply to those things that virtually everyone agrees are relative. If one post graduate woman in Arkansas thinks Hillary Clinton is the person most qualified to be president, does that nullify the opinions of those who think that everybody has their own truth on the subject, and those truths are equally valid?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:51 AM on June 8, 2008


The flaw here is that the same logic would apply to those things that virtually everyone agrees are relative.

Terrible example. Use ice cream flavors instead, next time.
posted by voltairemodern at 9:54 AM on June 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


To add to my comment, I mean that the sort of thing you're talking about occurs with matters like which flavor of ice cream is the best. Yes, that's clearly relative. However, matters such as who will be the best president are anything but relative (in the sense used by "Phoenix Wright"). We don't think that everybody "has their own truth," there, just that they have their own opinion. Opinion comes with the unspoken stipulation, "...until further notice," whereas truth does not.
posted by voltairemodern at 9:59 AM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Terrible example. Use ice cream flavors instead, next time.

Pardon? I think everyone agrees that banana ice cream is objectively bad.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:59 AM on June 8, 2008


That's a fun and silly game. Love it.
posted by fillsthepews at 10:07 AM on June 8, 2008


If one post graduate woman in Arkansas thinks Hillary Clinton is the person most qualified to be president, does that nullify the opinions of those who think that everybody has their own truth on the subject, and those truths are equally valid?

Epistemological validity and correctness aren't the same thing.

Though it seems to me (IANAPM*) that, despite Blue Hair's objections, what's being discussed in the link actually is solipsism, since no one discusses the things that knowledge can be relative to, like culture, language, biology, etc. Without that context, it's not a terribly useful idea beyond undergrad stoner arguments and amusing gifts.

*I Am Not A Philosophy Major
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:08 AM on June 8, 2008


Opinion comes with the unspoken stipulation, "...until further notice," whereas truth does not.

It used to be the truth that the world was flat.
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:11 AM on June 8, 2008


Butz!
posted by Balisong at 10:14 AM on June 8, 2008


No, actually, "the world is flat" was refuted via test a long time ago. The ancient Greeks knew the Earth was spherical. The "earth is flat" belief was around, of course, but it wasn't until the wonderful and culturally positive Christian Church decided that it contradicted their Written Traditions that it became the "Truth."
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:19 AM on June 8, 2008


Post subtitle: When seventh graders, epistemology, and manga-style GIF animation meet.

Or perhaps, Relativism: Rad or Retarded?
posted by supercres at 10:26 AM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Clinton vs. Obama: Broccoli vs. Ice Cream?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:42 AM on June 8, 2008



Pardon? I think everyone agrees that banana ice cream is objectively bad.


Now take that back. I've had some bananas foster ice cream (some store brand from Savemart) and it was damned good. Not as good as real bananas foster, mind you, but still pretty damned good.

Chunky Monkey from Ben and Jerry also deserves a mention if we are talking about banana ice cream
posted by recursion at 10:53 AM on June 8, 2008


Now take that back. I've had some bananas foster ice cream (some store brand from Savemart) and it was damned good.

Obvious troll.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:02 AM on June 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Aw, that could have been fun if the arguments weren't so terrible.
posted by painquale at 11:25 AM on June 8, 2008


"It used to be the truth that the world was flat."

This sentence makes no sense for any accurate understanding of truth and falsity.
posted by oddman at 11:41 AM on June 8, 2008


So the gist of this animated gif is that because one person thinks relativism is retarded, relativists must therefore agree with that version of the truth and accept that it is retarded, right?

Isn't this argument incorrectly assuming that relativism means that everyone's personal truth is equally valid? I thought the whole point of relativism is that it argues that there is no objective validity measure for truth.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:55 AM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Feel free to play along at home.
posted by zamboni at 12:15 PM on June 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


the prosecution is, indeed, always ready.

that's about all i got.
posted by CitizenD at 12:17 PM on June 8, 2008


The flaw here is that the same logic would apply to those things that virtually everyone agrees are relative. If one post graduate woman in Arkansas thinks Hillary Clinton is the person most qualified to be president, does that nullify the opinions of those who think that everybody has their own truth on the subject, and those truths are equally valid?

The logic only holds in this argument because relativism is self-referential. Relativism makes a claim about all knowledge.

The post graduate woman in Arkansas is making a claim that those holding other views on who is qualified to be president are mistaken. If those who thought that everyone's truth was valid really took her position seriously they would have to face a contradiction. Typically they privilege their own view of relativism and replay to the post graduate from Arkansas with, "No, lady, that's what you think." The relativist position doesn't get the "That's what I think." treatment. If it did, it couldn't argue a claim about the world.
posted by BigSky at 12:34 PM on June 8, 2008


Relativism makes a claim about all knowledge.

Does anyone actually adopt this view, though?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:36 PM on June 8, 2008


It used to be the truth that the world was flat.

No, people used to falsely believe that the world was flat. The truth was the the world was a sphere, whether people knew it or not. The spheroid nature of Earth is an objective truth that does not depend on someone's believing it to still be true.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:14 PM on June 8, 2008


Does anyone actually adopt this view, though?

As far as I can tell, not too many. Pretty popular topic of conversation though.
posted by BigSky at 1:21 PM on June 8, 2008


No, people used to falsely believe that the world was flat. The truth was the the world was a sphere, whether people knew it or not. The spheroid nature of Earth is an objective truth that does not depend on someone's believing it to still be true.

Not according to relativists.
posted by Caduceus at 1:22 PM on June 8, 2008


The ancient Greeks knew the Earth was spherical. The "earth is flat" belief was around, of course, but it wasn't until the wonderful and culturally positive Christian Church decided that it contradicted their Written Traditions that it became the "Truth."

I'm intrigued. Who in the Christian Church decided this, and when? Because a lot of the heavy-hitters in church history--like Augustine, Bede and Aquinas--clearly taught that the earth is round. While there are no doubt some exceptions, I'd like to see your references for some kind of systemic campaign by the church to enforce flat-earthism on people. It seems to me that the majority of the influential Christian thinkers and writers taught about the round Earth when the topic came up.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:27 PM on June 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Washington Irving is probably the main culprit.
posted by rodii at 2:24 PM on June 8, 2008


The problems arise here because the arguments used in the "court", and even in this thread, confuse "valid" and "true". The prosecution makes this mistake and it harms itself.

Relativism (or, more properly, constructivism) makes no claims about what is true. The argument is that no knowledge can be objectively known to be true. As the "witness" stated, the only knowledge we have is represented in our thought and taken in through our perceptions. We have no way to know if this matches what is "really" true, because to know if it was an accurate representation of what is "really true" we'd need to know what was "really true" to begin with. All knowledge, ultimately, will boil down to our perceptions and thoughts, which we can't objectively verify as accurate or not. Thus, all knowledge from everyone is valid, in that all knowledge is equally unverifiable as "really true" or not, but not all knowledge is true, since we can't know what is "true".

As the "attorneys" said, this is not solipsism. Constructivism makes no claim about objective reality, or whether there even is one. There might be one, or there might not. It might be exactly like we think it is, or it might not. We just can never know objectively because all knowledge is just a representation of that "true reality", or generated by our own self. This helps clarify some of the "it contradicts itself" arguments.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:34 PM on June 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Constructivism is not the same as relativism, and certainly not the same as the absolute form of relativism outlined in the clip.

Namely, constructivism is rad, relativism is not.
posted by voltairemodern at 3:11 PM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, but which is more rad - constructivism the knowledge theory or constructivism the artistic movement?
posted by GuyZero at 3:50 PM on June 8, 2008


Constructivism is not the same as relativism, and certainly not the same as the absolute form of relativism outlined in the clip.

No, it's not, but I was going by the argument given by the witness, which said that knowledge is a construct of the human mind, which certainly is constructivism. And there certainly are absolute forms of constructivism, such as that espoused by Ernst von Glasersfeld.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:57 PM on June 8, 2008


...since we can't know what is "true".

Then would you say that it is true that we cannot know what is true?
posted by vorpal bunny at 4:15 PM on June 8, 2008


EEGRA!
posted by subgear at 4:44 PM on June 8, 2008


Suppose your answer to my previous question was:

"I do not know if it is true that we can't know what is true."

My next question would be

"Is it true that you do not know that?"

And we would go on like this for hours until a certain Monsieur Descartes would burst into the room and insist to you that you must know that you exist.
posted by vorpal bunny at 4:50 PM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think with my head; I know with my heart.
posted by Talez at 5:16 PM on June 8, 2008


vorpal bunny
A constructivist would say that their position is just a view, a more or less coherent way to look at the world that has worked out so far. You're making the mistake of thinking they are saying that no true statement can ever be made, while they say only that they don't know the actual nature of objective reality, if it is there. Your second question, "Is it true that you do not know that?" could be answered, "Yes, it is true that I don't know that," because you are not asking about the nature of reality but about the information possessed by the other party, which they can know, at least consciously. I can know that I consciously don't know something, though perhaps I do know and forgot, I have suppressed it, etc. But I can say that as far as I can tell I don't know the answer.
posted by Sangermaine at 5:35 PM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


(This is like being in a Vulcan nursery with dozens of baby Spocks.)
posted by Dizzy at 6:34 PM on June 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


So the constructivist position is that they don't know everything? That is a much less controversial and much less interesting position than I gave them credit for.
posted by vorpal bunny at 8:21 PM on June 8, 2008


That's incredible. I love the idea of a .gif based animated series about philosophical argumentation. This demonstrates that there are clearly just not enough debate-based children's animated programs on television these days. A pity.
posted by MythMaker at 12:41 AM on June 9, 2008


Clearly, the difference between contructivism and solipsism exists entirely in Sangermaine's head.
posted by Sparx at 3:41 AM on June 9, 2008


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