Culturally in the West since the 1960s, popular culture might be summarised with the words “your truth but certainly not mine and so you certainly cannot tell me what to do, my view is equally as valuable as your view”. This is an in-depth essay developed from a conference paper that I presented called “Feeling Good About Truth”. It was a review of the debate between the Cambridge University moral philosopher, Simon Blackburn, to the most famous proponent of this view, technically known as relativism, the famous philosopher and cultural critic Richard Rorty (d.2006). Richard Rorty was famous for asserting there could be no moral “absolutes” for all morality was culturally defined, we decide in each era what “good” and “evil” are as a society. He was also controversial for his essays about George Orwell’s “1984”, he did not know what Winston (the central character representing Orwell’s view) was so worried about, Big Brother was good at “social solidarity”, he could see no use or relevance for the concept of “truth” at all if Big Brother got the job done. In a similar vein, when challenged by a sympathetic interviewer about whether a Holocaust guard at a prison camp was complicit in genocide, he replied “moral condemnation is too easy here“. Blackburn found that position untenable and believed we must be able to describe acts such as the Holocaust as “immoral” and hold people to account for their actions. I agree.
The essay is found here.