And now for something (not quite completely) different - Cognitive relativism in consultancy
Since joining the test automation unit of Xebia (June 2015), I have written some blog posts, all revolving around the topic of ..., well, ... test automation. However, there are a lot of other topics, across various domains, that have my interest and with regard of which I hold pretty strong, sometimes even passionate, views and opinions. These domains and topics are partially technical and partially non-technical in nature.
To be able to express my views and opinions as pertaining to the latter, that is non-technical, domains, I am launching a series of posts under the moniker of 'something (not quite completely) different'. The qualification of 'not quite completely' is in place to indicate that, although these posts will address non-technical topics, they are nevertheless relevant to the world of (test automation) consultancy.
This post will be the first of these and in it I will be riding one of my all-time favourite hobby horses, namely fighting a commonly held and, as is my opinion, untenable and quite dangerous post-modern notion. It is a misconception that I have to deal with (and even struggle with) on an almost daily basis.
It is the fallacy that there is no truth in discourse (or anywhere else, for that matter), but for the multitude of subjectively held opinions that are all equally and to the same extent true and valuable. Sometimes a variation on this is, that an opinion may be true for whomever holds that opinion, while, at the same time, it may be untrue for anybody else (since we all 'create' our own truths which do not necessarily need to be in coherence with each other). A popular adage to summarize this view, is the often used phrase ‘perception is truth’ (or ‘perception is reality’). Most often people simply state that ‘all truth is relative’ or ‘there is no absolute truth’. Lots of people also (albeit mostly unbeknownst to them) quote his Dudeness (you may also address him as ‘Duder’ or ‘El Duderino’):
In more technical terms, this fashionable belief is often designated by the phrase 'cognitive relativism'.
Employment of cognitive relativism is typically opportunistic in intent and, as such, bears all the hallmarks of a deus ex machina. It is a cheap, lazy, shallow, cowardly, uninformed/thoughtless and ultimately hysterical pseudo-intellectual stance, as will become apparent in the remainder of this post. Moreover, it is the ultimate discussion killer. But above all: it is absurd! Therefore, as we will see, it can be formally proven to be untrue by way of reductio ad absurdum.