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Incoherence in Relativism

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Incoherence in Relativism

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  • October 2012
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Epistemological relativism states that knowledge and truth are subjective. So, people from different cultures and backgrounds may disagree with one another as they reason out using their beliefs. However, one criticism against relativism is that it is incoherent. How do we end such a disagreement among people from different backgrounds? How do we know who is right?

What is true to me may not be true to you. For example, ancient Greeks believed in many gods. They went to the different temples of the different gods for different prayers. For the ancient Greeks, believing in many gods was true to them, true to their beliefs. However, Christians believe otherwise. Christians take pride in their monotheistic views of worshipping one God above all. Relativism applies to this example because of the two different truths that the two religions follow. A complication then occurs if one representative from each religion were to prove who is right. This dilemma is what critics charge to be why relativism has its weakness. There will be a never-ending debate on whose view of truth is right. One representative will have to give up in order for the debate to end. However by giving up, the representative will then go against his view of the truth. That is why; giving up may be unlikely the case, so the debate will remain ongoing without any conclusion. In relativism, there is incoherence in which truth is actually right. Or is there actually a right or wrong? This is difficult to prove.

In conclusion, relativism has its weakness since it is incoherent. What is right is undermined since no conclusion can be achieved unless one gives up (Siegel). Although there is a part truth to relativism since different people have different views and beliefs, no coherence can be achieved as to the adequacy of such views. As stated in the example of monotheistic and polytheistic religions, the two representatives from each religion will not be able to reach a conclusion as to which...

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