chapter  8
The Untruth in Relativism
ByChristopher A. Dustin
Pages 37

Relativism should have a legacy. By taking ethical relativism seriously, I hope to discover that legacy in the possibility of objectivity. We can view relativism as if it were a philosophical puzzle. But we can also view it as an issue about what it means to be involved in ethical conflicts (an issue which morally concerned agents might realistically confront). I believe that, by thinking about relativism in this way, we can learn something about the possibility of objectivity in ethics. These are somewhat different issues, and the relation between them is far from obvious. But that relation deserves to be explored. For it seems to me that, while objectivity is a real problem in ethics, we lack a clear understanding of how to approach it.1 Though we are concerned about it, we are not entirely sure what ‘ethical objectivity’ involves. This is why relativism needs to be taken seriously. If a question concerning the truth in relativism arises directly within our ethical experience, perhaps this question can provide a useful starting point in approaching issues of objectivity.