Quotes Tagged "relativism"
It's God that's worrying me. That's the only thing that's worrying me. What if He doesn't exist? What if Rakitin's right -that it's an idea made up by men? Then, if He doesn't exist, man is the king of the earth, of the universe. Magnificent! Only how is he going to be good without God? That's the question. I always come back to that. Who is man going to love then? To whom will he be thankful? To whom will he sing the hymn? Rakitin laughs. Rakitin says that one can love humanity instead of God. Well, only an idiot can maintain that. I can't understand it. Life's easy for Rakitin. 'You'd better think about the extension of civic rights, or of keeping down the price of meat. You will show your love for humanity more simply and directly by that, than by philosophy.' I answered him: 'Well, but you, without a God, are more likely to raise the price of meat if it suits you, and make a rouble on every penny.' He lost his temper. But after all, what is goodness? Answer that, Alyosha. Goodness is one thing with me and another with a Chinaman, so it's relative. Or isn't it? Is it not relative? A treacherous question! You won't laugh if I tell you it's kept me awake for two nights. I only wonder now how people can live and think nothing about it. Vanity!
The Sophists start by postulating that there are no limits to what education can accomplish and they maintain, in contrast to the old mystical belief in breeding, that ‘virtue’ can be taught. Western culture, which is based on self-consciousness, self-observation and self-criticism, has its origin in their idea of education. They initiated the history of Western rationalism, with its criticism of dogmas, myths, traditions and conventions. They are the discoverers of historical relativity—the recognition that scientific truths, ethical standards and religious creeds are all historically conditioned. They are the first to realize that all norms and standards, whether in science, law, morality, mythology or art, are creations of human minds and hands. They discover the relativity of truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and evil. They recognize the pragmatic motives underlying human valuations, and thus pave the way for all subsequent endeavour in the field of humanistic enlightenment. It is to be noted that their rationalism and relativism are connected with the same trend of economy and the same general impulse towards free competition and moneymaking as gave rise to the Renaissance emancipation of science, the enlightenment of the eighteenth century and the materialism of the nineteenth. Their experience of ancient capitalism aroused the same reactions in them as the experience of modern capitalism does in their successors.