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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Contextualized and Relativized Ethics

Kierkegaard said, "Truth becomes untruth in this or that person's mouth." (I'll have to grab the citation information later.)

I like this move by Kierkegaard, even though it runs contrary to many conservative Christian thinkers. For me, however, the point of talking about the importance of relativity and contextualization in ethics is not to provide an opportunity to turn untruth into truth, but to open up the possibility that human beings often turn truth into untruth. In other words, relativizing "good/evil" and "truth/untruth" is about understanding how important context is to the discussion. Could it be that much of our inclination is toward self deception? That as human beings we find security in "truth," when such truth has merely been taken into a context where it can be used for "untruth"?

Ah, perhaps an interesting example from current events:

McClellan has some kind words for Bush, calling him "a man of personal charm, wit and enormous political skill." He writes that the president "did not consciously set out to engage in these destructive practices. But like others before him, he chose to play the Washington game the way he found it, rather than changing the culture as he vowed to do at the outset of his campaign for the presidency." [from Ex-press aide writes Bush misled U.S. on Iraq, citing Scott McClellan]

1 comment:

hoosier reborn said...

Politics is void of ethics my friend. I could write a book on it....and don't get me started on republican = christian mentality.