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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

the slippery slope to solipsism

I think most sane and sensible people would agree that solipsism (subjectivism in logical extremis) is an irrational and unreasonable belief. Most subjectivists claim that THEY don’t follow the path of subjectivism down its logical destination in solipsism, that they hold to a limited form of subjectivism, that they “only” limit subjectivism to morals, values and ethics - “unimportant” things, that they opt for the more acceptable and intellectually respectable forms of subjectivism such as cultural relativism. Relativism is indeed a much milder form of subjectivism, but it is actually a less consistent subjectivism that seeks to have it both ways by universaling or even, dare it be said, absolutising, certain ethical values to a particular caste, group society or culture - but no further.

The fact remains: all skepticism is based upon a form of metaphysical solipsism, for the act of being skeptical is based upon a belief that we do not, or cannot, know certain things. For most of us our skepticism is usually reined in before we reach the point of being skeptical about reality itself and start entertaining the notion that nothing is real outside of our mental perception of it. For the sake of our psychological health at some point, whatever our worldview, we usually choose to rest upon certain unprovable, untestable, non-empirical assumptions about the way things are.

Nothing I have written denies that each person possesses a subjective point of view. I am making a case against claiming that ALL that exists are subjective personal “realities” that bear no relation to objective reality outside of the individual or group; and that to take this idea to its logical conclusion is an absurdist nightmare. The truism that we all see things through our own eyes is NOT an argument against the existence of objectivity reality or objective morality. To have a subjective point of view implies that there must be an objective reality able to be perceived. One may interpret or filter the objective reality through one’s own consciousness but that does not mean the objective reality is not really there. (Nor does this mean that in certain cases organic brain diseases or the effect of drugs etc. cannot induce hallucinatory experiences.) The committed metaphysical subjectivist has no reason to believe any hypothesis formulated on the basis of evidence perceived by his own senses. He believes that everything, whether it concerns metaphysics, epistemology, or ethics does not objectively exist. Of course, the inconsistent subjectivist frequently limits his skepticism only to ethics…

We all have "subjective" opinions - no one denies this - the issue is not what one’s opinions, prejudices, likes, dislikes, feelings or views are, the question is why do those who claim to possess a subjectivist outlook act so imperiously and authoritatively in denouncing a God whom they claim does not even exist? On what basis can one say all morality is only a relative social construct or personal subjective opinion and then seek to judge or condemn the opinions and views of those who take the opposite position. The failure to apply subjectivism consistently means that subjectivist skeptics have sawn off the very branch upon which they sit. One cannot express moral indignation about the morality of God if one does not have an objective standard by which one holds God accountable and cannot explain where such an absolute and objective standard originated.

For a subjectivist to express moral outrage about God can mean nothing more than "I don't like God and I don't like what God does". There are certainly no grounds for offering anything other than a personal opinion about God, and a personal opinion is just that, it has no overarching or binding significance on anyone else. However, the very act of condemning God as immoral implies logically that one is appealing to greater knowledge and a higher objective authority to which all sensible and sane men will agree. That of course is a fallacy according to the tenet of subjectivity. Subjectivists need to recognize this and to wake up from the sloppy thinking that leads them to conclude that any reality outside of ourselves is an illusion.

5:31:00 pm