Justifying Relativism Essay

1875 Words8 Pages
Justifying Relativism Benjamin Miller PHI 200 Daniel Beteta Jr. Nov. 14, 2011 Justifying Relativism There are several philosophical theories used to explain how people determine whether something is right or wrong. One of these theories, relativism, entertains that there is no right or wrong and that everything is relative to the individual’s concept of reality. Like most theories on determining right from wrong, I feel that relativism itself is both right and wrong. Relativism is right in that there are 7 billion individual people living at various locations across the world and these 7 billion people each have their own unique perceptions of what is right and what is wrong. While universal principles do exist in terms of emotional expression and physical health, it would be foolish to think that all 7 billion of us would interpret right and wrong in a similar fashion. There are simply too many variables in life that influence people’s decision-making abilities. It is because of this that I consider relativism as somewhat accurate, but how can a theory be right if it implies there is no right or wrong? The less attractive side to relativism is that when it is used radically, it is highly contradictive and this contradiction leads me to believe that radical relativism is not justifiable or logical. Something important to consider when looking at the theory of relativism is that it is just a theory. I personally believe it to be a good theory in general, but it should not be interpreted as a foundation for a belief structure. Nor should it be applied to every set of circumstances encountered throughout life. It is purely illogical to assume that one single theory will provide us with the proper guidance required to successfully negotiate every “right or wrong” decision. Relativism allows people to understand that individuals develop belief structures
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