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The nature of reality is something many people like to know. A regious person believes in god(s), a physicist be in particles and fields, or an Aboriginal believes in Dreamtime.

So different cultures believe different things to exist.

What makes it for some (most) philosophers hard to digest? What are their arguments?

I make this edit as a reaction on a comment. It says that different people might believe different things to exist but that that people want to know what's real or not. This is exactly what I mean by the hard to digest part. Different believes claim to know what is real or not. A particle physicist believes his elementary particles are real and these make him know all about them. He has to think they are real. It would be very strange if he wouldn't presuppose them to be real, truly existent. Likewise, an Aboriginal believes the Dreamtime is real and its real existence is what lets them know things about it.

They can say nothing about the reality of their fellow men. The physicist might consider the Dreamtime as non-existent while the Aboriginal might consider quarks and leptons as the ultimate chimeara.

Believe and reality can't be separated as is assumed by the anti-relativists. People from different cultures are not able to understand each other, so is the claim. Which is obvious non-sense. Truth and believe can siply be identified by people lying or not. Someone believing in quarks or leptons cannot be thought to lie. He can be proven wrong in the believe-system of science though.

So why is it hard to digest that there can be different objective realitie?

In the first comment to this question we can read:

Is "ontological relativism" supposed to be that existing things are what people believe them to be? That is hard to digest, and most people do not believe that despite believing different things. For one, existing things tend to upset what people believe about them, all the time.

This comment illustrates my point exactly. It ask though if this relativism is that things are believed to be different. The same thing can believed to be a different thing in different cultures. This is not what I mean. I mean the believe in different things altogether. In my example, the Dreamtime is a different thing than quarks or leptons. In different cultures they might be looked differently upon (with a frown or a nod of approvement) but the things stay the things. The Freamtime stays the Dreamtime and the quarks and leptons stay quarks and leptons (though they can turn into one another). Different believes can assign them different values though and they can be connected with different valus though.

So the question is: Why is ontological relativism so hard to digest?

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    Arguments about what exactly? Different cultures believe different things to exist, but people would like to know what does exist. Neither is hard to digest. Is "ontological relativism" supposed to be that existing things are what people believe them to be? That is hard to digest, and most people do not believe that despite believing different things. For one, existing things tend to upset what people believe about them, all the time.
    – Conifold
    Aug 9 at 9:43
  • @User53342. There's a dearth of information about ontological relativism on the 'net. Are you able to provide any references which discuss it? Aug 9 at 12:56
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You should look at relativism more generally, and epistemic relativism in particular https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/relativism/#EpiRel

If you hold everything is relative, you have to deal with apparent univeesals, like geometry and mathematics. The persistence of objects & systems in influencing people whether or not they accept their reality, is also an issue.

Individuals don't exist, for physics, they are a conceptual shorthand for a certain lump of complex chemistry. So who do things really get to be relative to? Substance dualism, implicitly taken up by many scientists, holds a concealed 'mind of god' perspective, that will be the ultimate arbiter of what is objective.

These problems and others, like the Private Language argument, are resolved by considering intersubjectivity. This way of thinking is something like a peer-to-peer reality, with widely taken up behaviours altering how the whole system functions. Language makes humans highly networked in their reality-making. Claiming ontological relativism without limits, ignores that and risks becoming a form of solipsism.

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  • “Individuals don't exist, for physics, they are a conceptual shorthand for a certain lump of complex chemistry. So who do things really get to be relative to?” Interesting. I have not heard this argument before. Do you know what works expound on this idea? Aug 12 at 5:02
  • @JustSomeOldMan: Buddhist philosophy
    – CriglCragl
    Aug 12 at 13:51
  • Do you know what school or work? I presume the arguments were for skepticism, not realism. However, what you wrote seems something a physicalist would sign off on. Aug 13 at 0:32
  • @JustSomeOldMan: I had in mind intersubjectivity, what is sometimes called 'interbeing', represented by the Indra's Net metaphor. With no privileged viewpoint at all, you have to take the intersubjective view. Thinking of identities as essences, and the idea of a 'mind of god' view are pervasive cognitive biases, that need to be unwoven from our thinking. Buddhist thought with it's scepticism about conventional notions of self and non-dualism, does this. Hume's bundle theory is maybe another example.
    – CriglCragl
    Aug 13 at 1:51

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