Most philosophers I know say that relativism is a dead philosophy and that it's used by freshmen philosophers to shrug off objective truth. Whenever I bring up anything that sounds remotely similar to relativism, I am called a sophist. Is relativism actually dead? Is my opinion unfounded? If not, please give me a counter argument.

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    Unfortunately, cultural relativism is very much alive en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_relativism, in fact it is a staple of postmodernism en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism Rorty is an example of postmodernistic excesses in relativism that may explain the distaste of your philosopher friends philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/36489/… see also Sokal hoax en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair
    – Conifold
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 21:35
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    I'm interested in the sorts of philosophers you're hanging around. I've never heard that relativism is dead, and in my experience absolutists are often considered naive idealists. It's worth noting that relativism occurs on something of a spectrum, with the both extremes viewed with some scorn; extreme relativism amounts to impractical and self-blinding skepticism, while total absolutism is metaphysically unsound.
    – commando
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 23:38
  • There's probably an interesting, on-topic question here, but as asked this is unfortunately off-topic. Can you try rephrasing so it's not a "Am I right?" style question? Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


If by "dead", you mean that relativism is not studied by serious philosophers, then, no, it's not dead at all. John MacFarlane and Carol Rovane have both recently written books on relativism (and I must say, Rovane's book is excellent in my opinion).

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