We (L. and J. and S. and I) had been discussing at lunch one of those issues whose complexity resists any attempt by a single mind to come up with a definitive resolution: Yes, side X has the single claim to justice, to being in the right; opposing side Y clearly has the monopoly on injustice and is clearly wrong. Platonism is clearly wrong and the single mind can grasp this in a way that is definitive for all time; nominalism is clearly and definitively right. It's settled; it's a Cartesian clear and distinct idea.

Not.

We are pushing through one by one the revolving door into the incredibly dull and boring corporate building that houses our workplace. "All truth is relative," says L. "No truth is absolute."

What I think is: "Familiar undergraduate nonsense. Of course, L. is not, strictly speaking, an undergraduate. Nonetheless, how naive. How jejeune. How did this stuff get over to southern India anyhow?"

What I say is: "Except for 1 + 1 = 2."

But L. is not going to give me 1 + 1 = 2. "I'll find a way to show that even that is relative," he says. "Just give me a little bit of time."*

Next












*L. would seem to have a difference of opinion about this with PZ Myers, who I daresay is a militant arithmeticist.