General term designed to fit any doctrine which denies the existence of absolute values. Things exist which have absolute values, e.g., ethical principles and truths. These things stand independently of the operations of intellect and will, because they are ultimately founded in the nature of God. In the universe they should serve as absolute standards for intellectual and voluntary operations. In disposing of these absolute values, relativism, in any form, leads logically to scepticism and liberalism. Relativism takes a multitude of forms, the most pernicious being Ethical Relativism which upholds the relative nature of the moral code. Relativism of Truth claims that truth is not something absolute but “relative to the faculty of which it is the product.” Relativism of Knowledge confesses the inability of human concept to approach to anything closer than “correspondence or symbolic representation of the reality.” Relativism of Reality gropes futilely in search of a term to which it might relate Reality itself.

MLA Citation

  • “relativism”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 August 2013. Web. 22 September 2017. <>