relativism

noun
rel·​a·​tiv·​ism | \ ˈre-lə-ti-ˌvi-zəm How to pronounce relativism (audio) \

Definition of relativism

1a : a theory that knowledge is relative to the limited nature of the mind and the conditions of knowing
b : a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them

Other Words from relativism

relativist \ ˈre-​lə-​tə-​vist How to pronounce relativism (audio) \ noun

Examples of relativism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Postmodernism, however, has moved us further, from moral to cognitive relativism, in which even factual observation is regarded as subjective. Francis Fukuyama, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 For many years now, societies have been living with moral relativism, which asserts the essential subjectivity of all value systems. Francis Fukuyama, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 Del Noce indicts the sweeping changes of secularism, eroticism, and relativism as the inevitable outcomes of Marx’s dialectical victory over religious and liberal foes. Richard M. Reinsch Ii, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 And the fallout from sociologism, i.e., relativism, remains evident across Western nations, as comprehensive claims about the true and the good are reduced to race, class, and gender. Richard M. Reinsch Ii, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 Yet his pitch has hardened into litany: technological determinism, political pessimism, cultural relativism, and so on. Frank Guan, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2022 Though there was no mention of his personal disgrace, the first segment of the set seemed like a defiant exercise in moral relativism. James Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Dec. 2021 But what is more important than the relativism of age is the curiosity that is lodged by doing the play a second time. Nancy Coleman, New York Times, 18 June 2021 Luke's optimism and unshakable belief in the absolute and rejection moral relativism came to life for me in that line. Chris Quinn, San Antonio Express-News, 4 May 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relativism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of relativism

1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of relativism was in 1865

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Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Relativism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relativism. Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on relativism

Nglish: Translation of relativism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about relativism

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