Friday, 8 February 2008

Has Archbishop Rowan Williams been Gullible?

Whenever somebody makes any type of radical suggestion, our reaction can tend to go one of three ways, acceptance, rejection or ambivalence..Our position ususlly connects to our 'ego involvement' on an issue. The more it affects our identity the stronger we feel it. Suggesting that the UK might adopt parts of a legal system from another culture certainly confronts you with your sense of identity! What is 'Britishness' by the way?

So, its not surprisng that Dr Rowan Williams' suggestion that the UK might consider adpoting elements of Sharia Law is highly controversial. Another way of explaining the various reactions is to consider Kuhn's notion of Incommensurabilitywhich means that often 'schools of thought' lock out any ideas that don't fit with with their way of seeing it.

So what is the 'right' way to make law? Is there a truth about the law? What is Truth in this context? How can comments such as Dr Williams be understood in the context of a secular society which has clear water between the law and religion?

The debate playing out touches on many dimensions of truth, supernatural truth, metaphyscial truth, epistemlogical truth. What is the true in the reporting and analysis of Dr Williams statements?

RR says:
Unfortunately the question ‘what is truth?’ means dealing with something even more disconcerting than simple ‘falsehood’ it means we have to confront ‘ambiguity’, an uncertain limbo-land where we can’t quite conclude with any degree of confidence what something is or is not. Ambiguity is the nemesis of our instinct for certainty; with ambiguity we can never be sure of ‘touching the walls’. This is a scary place. If I can’t decide what truth is am I feeble and stupid? Am I weak and indecisive? Am I merely running with the foxes and chasing with hounds? Ultimately I can, of course, be more confident of one thing and that is my opinion about truth, I can at least attempt an answer to the question ‘what is my understanding of truth?'

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