ERIC Number: ED313296
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
The Relativity of Fact and the Objectivity of Value.
Elgin, Catherine Z.
The popular stereotypical view of facts as absolute entities and values as relative entities needs to be rejected, for it stifles understanding of both fact and value. The two are inextricably intertwined: the demarcation of facts rests squarely on considerations of values; evaluations are infused with considerations of fact. A category scheme provides the resources for stating various truths and falsehoods and for demarcating conceptual boundaries. But the values that the schemes realize are not always, or only, the ones people intend to produce. In building a system of thought, people begin with a provisional scaffolding made of the relevant beliefs already held, the aims of the projects already embarked on, and the values they seek to uphold. System building is dialectical. Specific judgments are molded to accepted generalizations, and generalizations to specific judgments. Justification is holistic. Support for a conclusion comes not from a single line of argument, but from a host of considerations of varying degrees of relevance and strength. That which is right relative to one acceptable system may be wrong relative to another. (PPB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Authoring Institution: N/A