Argument Against Cognitive Relativism

Essay by dreyazHigh School, 10th gradeA-, July 2007

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Cognitive relativism is the doctrine that all claims are true or false only in relation to some particular viewpoint or perspective. So in short, cognitive relativism asserts that claim that there is no such thing as ‘objective truth’. An example is the paper that I’m writing this essay on. A chemist or physicist would claim that the paper is made out of wood from trees, which is composed of carbon atoms. However, an Aristotelian follower of physics would claim that the paper is made of earth, water, air and fire, as ALL that compose the materials in the world are made out of these elements. It is clear that both Aristotelian and modern scientist have different beliefs. However the cognitive relatitivist would go beyond this, and would claim that, relative to the perspectives of both Aristotelian and modern scientist, that the paper is indeed made of carbon atoms whilst simultaneously made out of earth, water, air and fire.

In short, there is no fact of the matter about what this paper is made out of.

However, there is already a flaw in cognitive relativism, it seems to be inconsistent when it states that there are no objective truths", stating the judgment as if it were an objective truth. Thus, a statement ‘that there are no objective truths’ is actually self refuting by implying that the same statement can both be true or false or both. Even if a statement that is both true and false, there seems to be no good reasons or advantages to follow cognitive relativism since it contradicts itself time and again.

So to write down the standard of cognitive relativism, it would be in the form of one of these statements:A.All truth is relative to the interests and perspective of the person making the truth claim.