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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-N050-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 20, 2024, from

Article Summary

Someone who holds that nothing is simply good, but only good for someone or from a certain point of view, holds a relativist view of goodness. Protagoras, with his dictum that ‘man is the measure of all things’, is often taken to be an early relativist. Quite common are relativism about aesthetic value, about truth in particular areas such as religious truth, and (arising from anthropological theory) about rationality. There are also a number of ways of answering the question ‘relative to what?’ Thus something might be said to be relative to the attitudes or faculties of each individual, or to a cultural group, or to a species. Relativism therefore has many varieties; some are very plausible, others verge on incoherence.

Citing this article:
Craig, Edward. Relativism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N050-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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