The Book of Absolutes
This book began at a cocktail party. Whenever he mentioned something that he considered indubitably true, Gairdner got fed up hearing people say, "Well, it may be true for you, but it's not true for me." He would counter with: "Well, it can't be true and false at the same time. One of us must be wrong!" - which was an invitation to debate. In response, the person he had challenged would usually just wander off to drink with someone else. Gairdner concluded that sloppy relativistic thinking was permeating society, so he wrote this book as "A Critique of Relativism, and a Defence of Universals." Therein is fascinating material on the universals of anthropology, physics, biology, language, morality, law, and much, much more.
Comments and Reviews
"Strikingly original and important" Tom Flanagan, Political Science, University of Calgary
"Gairdner's intellectual range and control of his material is breathtaking ... almost no one writing today has the command of the literature is as many disciplines as this author has." In Gentles, Department of History, York University
"Gairdner has taken the torch from William F. Buckley's failing hands and lifted it high with his new work ... an objective reader is left wondering how relativism ever got a toehold in the popular imagination in the first place." The Calgary Herald
"The Book of Absolutes is probably Gairdner's most important work to date, not that this former Olympic decathlete shows any signs of slowing down. Not since Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind has a book come along that furnishes so many insights into the morbid mentality of a civilization that has lost confidence in its certainties and itself, or that more clearly points the way up from despair." Harley Price, School of Continuing Education, University of Toronto