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Overview

relativism

Subject: Philosophy

The doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.

relativism

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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Linguistics
Length:
5 words

... See Sapir– Whorf...

Relativism

Relativism   Reference library

The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
995 words

... Relativism is not one doctrine but many. Different forms of relativism can be categorized with the help of the schema: X is relative to Y. For instance, epistemic relativism replaces X with knowledge or justification, ontological relativism with world, facts or objects, semantic relativism with meaning or truth , and moral relativism with virtues, values or norms. The position of Y has been given to the individual ( Protagorean relativism), culture, frameworks, historical periods or the human species. It is widely believed that most forms...

relativism

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A Dictionary of Media and Communication (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020
Subject:
Media studies
Length:
263 words

... ( epistemological relativism ) Frequently either a pejorative term used by critics of constructionism (notably realists , for whom it may refer to any epistemological stance other than realism ) or by constructionists themselves referring to a position whereby ‘anything goes’ with which they do not want to be associated. Critics associate relativism with an extreme idealism or nihilism denying the existence of a real material world—which it does not necessarily entail. Since few theorists choose to label themselves relativists it is difficult...

relativism

relativism n.   Quick reference

Concise Medical Dictionary (10 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020
Subject:
Medicine and health, Clinical Medicine
Length:
57 words

... n. the view that ethical judgments are solely or mainly determined by the cultural, social, or psychological perspectives of those making them. In medical ethics, this often takes the form of cultural relativism, whereby it is assumed that because health-care traditions and practices vary, so too must definitions of what constitutes good practice. Compare Kantian ethics...

relativism

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A Dictionary of Sociology (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Social sciences, Sociology
Length:
496 words

... The word relativism is used loosely to describe intellectual positions which reject absolute or universal standards or criteria. Thus, epistemological relativism is the view that there are no universal criteria of knowledge or truth. What counts as true is a function of criteria which are internal and so relative to local cultures, historical periods, or socio-political interests (the scientific community, the ruling class, revolutionary proletariat, and so forth). The critiques of positivism which were influential in the 1960s and 1970s often...

relativism

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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Archaeology, History
Length:
153 words

... [Th] 1 The claim that there is no knowledge independent of an individual, and that all knowledge is created within a cultural system. It therefore follows that there can be no absolute or independent means of judging between different knowledge claims, including science. However, such relativism is self‐refuting, since what it states about knowledge must equally apply to that claim itself. In contrast, a relativist position which stops with the argument that knowledge is constructed and is temporally and spatially located does not necessarily have...

relativism

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010

... In philosophy, the position that all value judgements (e.g. ethics, morality, and truth) are relative to the standpoint of the beholder. To put it another way, relativism does not accept that there is an absolute ground or reference point that could provide an objective guarantee that things are not necessarily the same as they are perceived to be by a given subject. If one is neither religious nor a hard-headed realist , then some version of relativism is unavoidable, which creates a great many difficulties for philosophers in this situation because...

relativism

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

... In philosophy, the position that all value judgements (e.g. ethics, morality, and truth) are relative to the standpoint of the beholder. To put it another way, relativism does not accept that there is an absolute ground or reference point that could provide an objective guarantee that things are not necessarily the same as they are perceived to be by a given subject. If one is neither religious nor a hard-headed realist , then some version of relativism is unavoidable, which creates a great many difficulties for philosophers in this situation...

relativism

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The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
463 words

... The permanently tempting doctrine that in some areas at least, truth itself is relative to the standpoint of the judging subject (‘beauty lies in the eye of the beholder’). The first classical statement is the doctrine of the Sophist Protagoras that ‘man is the measure of all things’. Relativism may be a global doctrine about all knowledge, or a local doctrine about some area (aesthetics, ethics, or judgements of secondary qualities, for example). The aspects of the subjects supposed to determine what truth is ‘for them’ may include historical,...

Relativism

Relativism   Reference library

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
940 words

... Relativism is any view that implies that conflicting judgments may be equally sound. Five kinds of relativism may be distinguished in antiquity. First, the same thing may be correctly judged beneficial or harmful depending on context. Heraclitus observed that seawater is most pure for fish and most foul for human beings (DK [Diels and Kranz] 102); similarly Plato had Protagoras point out that olive oil is beneficial to human hair but harmful to plants and animals (Plato Protagoras 334a3–c6). The anonymous author of Dissoi logoi makes similar...

Relativism

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Encyclopedia of Aesthetics

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
Art & Architecture, Philosophy
Length:
3,335 words

...of Relativism about Interpretation Sometimes relativism is a term used to dismiss a view as being beyond the pale of reason. A universal relativism (e.g., the view that all truth is relative) is sometimes said to be self-refuting because its very assertion implies that at least one truth is not relative (that is, that all is relative). The relativisms being examined here, however,—about the interpretation of artworks and aesthetic value judgments—are local rather than universal, and thus could not be criticized in this way. A limited relativism is not...

Relativism

Relativism   Reference library

Robert Stecker

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Art & Architecture, Philosophy
Length:
3,625 words

...Evaluation of Relativism. Sometimes relativism is a term used to dismiss a view as being beyond the pale of reason. A universal relativism (e.g., the view that all truth is relative) is sometimes said to be self-refuting because its very assertion implies that at least one truth is not relative (that is, that all is relative). The relativisms being examined here, however—about the interpretation of artworks and aesthetic value judgments—are local rather than universal and thus could not be criticized in this way. A limited relativism is not an...

relativism

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A Dictionary of Human Geography

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Social sciences, Human Geography
Length:
963 words

...human understandings past and present. Relativism comes in both ‘positive’ and ‘normative’ forms. In the first, the analyst is concerned to take seriously the often incommensurable ways that different communities or societies make sense of the world. As part of this, they may also self-consciously point to their own situatedness and socialization as researchers, meaning that their representations are as relative as those whose representations of reality are the focus of the research ( see situated knowledge ). Relativism of the second kind is more judgemental...

relativism

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A Dictionary of Social Research Methods

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Social sciences, Sociology
Length:
23 words

...relativism The idea that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, but vary according to differences in perception and cultural factors....

relativism

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Australian Law Dictionary (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Law
Length:
155 words

...relativism Denial that there are universal truths in a certain area (e.g. ethics). Descriptive relativism is the observation that there are a plurality of views; this is compatible with the claim that only one of two conflicting claims is right, that neither is right, that both are right in different ways, or that there is no fact of the matter. Normative relativism goes further, holding that all claims of a certain kind are only true or false relative to some standard, and that standards may vary: there is no universal or absolute standard against...

historical relativism

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A Dictionary of Media and Communication (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020
Subject:
Media studies
Length:
50 words

...relativism ( historical particularism ) The stance, adopted by Boas and others, that a historical era can only be understood on its own terms ( see also historicism ). In its extreme form, a rejection of the validity of historical (or cross-cultural) comparisons and evolutionary schemata. See also relativism . ...

cultural relativism

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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Archaeology, History
Length:
30 words

...relativism [Th] The position that there is no universal standard to measure cultures by, and that all cultures are equally valid and must be understood in their own...

cultural relativism

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A Dictionary of Human Geography

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Social sciences, Human Geography
Length:
86 words

...relativism The epistemological position that social scientists should seek to understand another culture within the terms of that culture and not their own. At its heart is the belief that all knowledge is mediated through the mind and culture and therefore inherently framed by certain beliefs and values. As a result, knowledge production tends towards ethnocentrism . Cultural relativism acknowledges and challenges this tendency, arguing that all cultures are equally valid and valuable and should be judged from within their own framing. See also ...

cultural relativism

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A Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics and International Relations (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics
Length:
216 words

...morality or deep senses of common humanity. In international relations, cultural relativism is often used as a means to critique Western hard power and soft power , globalization , and post-colonialism , and to argue against cosmopolitanism . Although relativism offers a number of explanatory benefits, it suffers from a number of contradictions and limitations. First, cultural relativism often treats cultures as static entities and thus falsely ‘freezes’ their historic and future potentialities for cross-cultural intersubjectivity and mutual...

cultural relativism

cultural relativism   Reference library

Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Law, International Law
Length:
230 words

...relativism Cultural relativism is not a term of art, being borrowed from social anthropology and moral philosophy and applied to human rights to mean ‘the position according to which local cultural traditions (including religious, political, and legal practices) properly determine the existence and scope of civil and political rights enjoyed by individuals in a given society. The central tenet of relativism is that no transboundary legal or moral standards exist against which human rights practices may be judged acceptable or unacceptable’: Tesón,...

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