Simon Blackburn

From Simon Blackburn in his new book Truth. He compares skeptics, who suspend judgment on undecideable questions, with relativists.

Today’s relativists, persuading themselves that all opinions enjoy the same standing in the light of reason, take it as a green light to believe what they like with as much conviction and force as they like. So while ancient scepticism was the sworn opponent of dogmatism, today dogmatisms feed and flourish on the desecrated corpse of reason. Astrology, prophecy, homeopathy, Feng shui, conspiracy theories, flying saucers, voodoo, crystal balls, miracle-working, angel visits, alien abductions, management nostrums and a thousand other cults dominate people’s minds, often with official backing. ‘Faith education’ is backed by the British Prime Minister, while Biblical fundamentalism, creationism and astrology alike stalk the White House.

This is the problem. Skepticism that leads to caution about dogmatism is one thing, and relativism that leads to inflated, robust, blimp-like dogmatism is quite quite another.

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