Relativism is a bundle of different doctrines in ontology, semantics, epistemology, methodology, and ethics. This chapter starts with a defence of moderate moral relativism: morality is not a natural aspect of the world, but a human‐made social construction. Therefore, moral judgements (‘a’ is good, ‘a’ is right) receive truth‐values only relative to some historically defined system of standards. This does not entail radical moral relativism, which claims that moral systems are equally good or incomparable by some rational principles. In the same way, the epistemological notion of justification is relative to accepted standards. Again, this moderate cognitive relativism does not entail radical relativism. Further, it does not entail a corresponding relativism about truth and reality. Cognitive relativism thus fails precisely at those points where it conflicts with scientific realism. Debates about relativism are illustrated by a discussion of feminist epistemology.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.