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Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Unperceived Ideol. Transship. and Dial.

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F. Irenicism, Relativism, and Hegelianism

 

It can be seen that the various forms of irenicism logically lead to relativism.

In fact, the exacerbated desire for unanimous, universal, and conclusive peace in everything among men leads to the underestimation of the scope of differences between them. From this underestimation one easily comes to a relativist position which, in order to suppress those differences, ends by considering all opinions to have a relative value and denying that any of them might be objectively true or false.

This total relativism is more negative than positive, denying all other systems and yet offering no positive conception of man, life, and the universe. But the irenistic impulse is not satisfied with this. Tending to go to the extreme through its own natural dynamism, it takes on a Hegelian character.

It conceives the progress of thought and history as a result of the internal friction of doctrines or forces that are at the same time relatively true and relatively false. From this friction between thesis and antithesis would come a new relative "truth," superseding all others, which in its turn would clash with another, yielding another synthesis, and so on indefinitely. This is the end term of the long journey which, begun in simple irenicism and going through successive refinements of it, reaches relativism and, finally, Hegelianism.

 




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