Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Relativism, philosophy: relativism is a collective term for views that generally refer to the conditions which are fundamental for the occurrence of these views. Variants are based on theories, on languages, on social groups or on cultures. See also internal realism, externalism, observational language, cultural relativism, idealization.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Michael Walzer on Relativism - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 234
Concepts/meaning/culture/society/relativism: different societies have different meanings, understandings, and values associated with these goods. The particular meanings of the goods, moreover, determine their proper distribution. So social meanings of goods give rise to distributive principles valid only in a given society, within the sphere of those goods.
, >Meaning >Society, >Cultural tradition.
Injustice occurs when the distributive criteria for one good are allowed to encroach on the sphere of another
(Walzer, 1983)(1).
>Injustice, >Distributive justice.
For example, if a given society's interpretation of health care is that it should be distributed according to need, then injustice occurs when health care becomes inaccessible to the needy ill and available only to those who have money, or talent, or fame.
>Health policy.
Similarly, if a particular society's interpretation of education is that it should be distributed equally or according to merit, then injustice occurs when it is in fact distributed according to wealth or social connection (Gutmann, 1980)(2).
Discourse/consensus/agreement: Walzer recognizes the reality of disagreement in communities, but insists the resolution of disagreements must take place within the specific historical and shared cultural context. The consequence of this, he argues, is that there can be no reference to hypothetical or objective abstract ideals, independent of the particular community's standards, in resolving the disagreements or in determining the institutional methods and procedures for resolving disagreements (...).
>Abstractness, >Idealization, >Community, >Conflicts,

1. Walzer, Michael (1983) Spheres of Justice. Oxford: Martin Robertson.
2. Gutmann, Amy (1980) Liberal Equality. London: Cambridge University Press.

Lamont, Julian 2004. „Distributive Justice“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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