# Can a relativist also be an absolutist about truth?

If your starting point is relativism (the view that there is no truth 'out there' because truth is subject to the individual) then you could deny the law of non contradiction. With this law out of your way you could hold that truth is both relative and absolute.

• And what would "truth is both relative and absolute" mean exactly? Relativism already requires reworking the meaning of "truth" making its conjunction with what "absolute" usually means unintelligible. One also has to be careful with accepting contradictions, without paraconsistent precautions, i.e. non-classical logic, the law of explosion would make every statement true and false. Jul 26, 2018 at 17:19
• It seems to me like the relativist would be self-refuting their own argument if they followed this pattern of thinking. Since they could argue that both the relativist approach to truth is true while at the same time argue that an absolute approach to truth is true. This seems to be a variation of Plato's argument that relativism is self-refuting; only this time, however, it is instantiated not by the absolutist about truth but the relativist their self. Jul 26, 2018 at 18:03
• Lessee here. I think I remember this. PR (pure relativist): I deny non-contradiction. Obj (objectivist): I'm glad you agree with me that non-contradiction is absolute. PR: But I DON"T agree. I deny it. Obj: Yes, thank you for agreeing. It's so gratifying. PR: No no no! I deny non-contradiction. Obj: Yes, it is a brilliant proof of non-contradiction. <many cycles later> PR: Look here! I keep telling you! I deny non-contradiction! And my statement is equal to itself!
– user34017
Jul 26, 2018 at 19:10
• You are using "true" as if it had some predefined, and universally understood, meaning. This is not relativist's position, and with your use of "true" it looses its traditional meaning as well. So unfortunately the "argument" you are trying to make ("both the relativist approach to truth is true while at the same time argue that an absolute approach to truth is true") dissolves into a meaningless string of words. Meanings have to be taken care of before one gets to talk about arguments and "truth". Plato's argument only worked because he was dealing with very naive (straw man) relativists. Jul 26, 2018 at 19:26
• Perhaps this shows that it would be incoherent to suppose there is no truth 'out there'. It would certainly be impossible to prove it. All the same, I'd say there is some truth in the idea that truth may be both relative and absolute in at least some cases, depending on which way we look at it.
– user20253
Jul 27, 2018 at 14:15