7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This book successfully refutes relativism's tenets.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air (Paperback)
Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air is a well written book that explains and critiques the philosophy of relativism. Because of the popular level at which it is written, it is very feasible for the average reader to feel properly equipped to begin dealing with this pervasive ideology. Another primary strength is how it builds logically upon itself throughout the chapters.
In the beginning, Koukl clearly presents the need for facing the issue of relativism. The examples reveal a frightening snapshot of our morally bankrupt society. As a result, the need for change is evident. He follows this introduction with defining key terms in the second chapter. Furthermore, Koukl strategically hamstrings one of relativism's foundational tenets, the position of moral neutrality. He also makes a case for the self-refuting nature of relativism. By the end of part one, the reader is left with a firm grasp of the various forms of relativism that are encountered in the public square.
The following three chapters provide a systematic refutation of the three types of relativism, culminating part two with a final chapter on the seven flaws of relativism. Again, the authors do a great service by defining key terms before dealing with the relevant issues.
Part three explains how relativism has affected education. The authors show how this philosophy is meeting our children in the classroom with exercises like values clarification. Furthermore, relativistic ideas form the backbone to key, public ideas like political correctness and multiculturalism. Beckwith explains how relativistic ideas in education, that are intended to promote tolerance and inclusivisim, are actually exclusivistic. For example, college speech codes allow the free speech and thought of only those students whose ideas are politically correct. If the speech does not square with those in power, then it is silenced. That is not tolerance, but exclusivism. In addition, the author demonstrates that any moral theory that can't account for the Jewish holocaust is truly a bankrupt moral system not worth considering. Relativism, he argues, must therefore be discarded.
In part four, Beckwith discusses how relativism has infected law, marriage, and the meaning of life. Again, the author demonstrates the self-contradictory nature of relativism as it pertains to issues of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, etc. He shows how the courts' efforts to ensure personal autonomy and to remain "neutral" on end-of-life issues has actually imposed naturalism's worldviews and presuppositions on public life. This demonstrates how the myth of moral neutrality is present.
In the final part, Koukl address some very practical issues. He devotes an entire chapter to tactics on refuting relativism. Being one of the strengths of this book, this chapter helps put into practice the wealth of knowledge gained in the previous chapters. It would behoove those interested in debating relevant moral issues in our culture to master the techniques taught in this section. After these tactics is one of the most provocative chapters in the book. It argues against the possibility of morals developing as a product of naturalistic evolution. The book culminates in an analysis of the origin of these morals. It points to a personal intelligence for the source of all morality.