I was reading this SEP article and in this article a model with orthogonal axes for objective/subjective and relative/absolute is given.

An example analogy of a relative yet objective notion is also made: Tallness is a relative notion—John is a tall man but a short pro basketball player—but it is not the case that “thinking makes it so.”

This made the concepts more clear to me and now I'm trying to make analogies for the other categories too.

Height seems to be an appropriate analogous example for the objective and absolute category. I am not sure how to think of a subjective yet absolute truth though, perhaps a movie rating since it is mind-dependent yet measurable?

Below is my attempted solution

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where the subjective/objective axis says whether something is mind-dependent and the relative/absolute axis says whether it is measurable.

What are analogous examples for each category of objective/subjective and relative/absolute moral truths?

  • Hello, and welcome to Philosophy.SE. I think this is a case of the XY problem. Your question title asks something about morality, then there are aspects of how to appropriately model the relation between objective-subjective and relative-absolute (the scheme you use is but one possibility), and in the end you ask whether your examples - which are completely unrelated to morality - are correct. Please try to point out the exact question you tried to answer with this scheme and how exactly it arised.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Jun 30, 2018 at 13:45
  • If the questions stays as it is, it would have to be closed. One reason for closing questions is "Questions that push a personal philosophy with no question beyond "am I right" or "what do you think" are off-topic here as this is not a blog. It's ok to express unique opinions, but you must have an actual, answerable question to go with them." See also the help center.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Jun 30, 2018 at 13:49
  • Thanks for your comments, I edited the question to hopefully make it more clear and unambiguous.
    – sloppydisk
    Jun 30, 2018 at 15:37
  • Link is broken. Should it be changed to: plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-relativism
    – AgilePro
    Jun 23, 2021 at 3:24

1 Answer 1


It strikes me that the same concepts or entities could appear in all four boxes. 'Rightness' for instance could be, depending on one's ethical theory, objective, subjective, relative or absolute.

In other words it is not possible in the current state of ethics to put any four concepts or entities indisputably or even by common opinion in one box rather than another. I can't say, justice has to go into the objective box - others would put it in the subjective box. I could argue, so could they : 'justice is objective, a moral requirement whatever anyone thinks' but there's the rejoinder that 'justice is no more than what you or I think is due'. Some would put justice in the relative box (justice is relative to social norms) or the absolute box (justice is a moral requirement free from any social context).

It is - well done - a smart idea to try to construct the matrix of the kind you're interested in but I do not think, given the diversity of morals and the depth of moral disagreement, actually to create one.

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