I posted four criticisms of “politically correct” moral relativism. Some of you think this sort of relativism is entirely a straw man. Not entirely. I agree it’s influence is vastly exaggerated (as I’ll be explaining shortly).I have come across only a couple of academics that signed up to it (one was an anthropologist).
It tends to be undergrads that spout it. Schools are often blamed. Marianne Talbot of Oxford University says her students
have been taught to think their opinion is no better than anyone else’s, that there is no truth, only truth-for-me. I come across this relativist view constantly – in exams, in discussion and in tutorials – and I find it frightening: to question it amounts, in the eyes of the young, to the belief that it is permissible to impose your views on others.
I must say it’s only 5-10% of my students that express the view. I think some have been taught it as a way of being “tolerant” (possibly because it gets teachers out of awkward situations when teaching several religions. “But sir, which religion is true – is Jesus God, or not?” “They are all true, lad – it’s true for Christians, false for Muslims”), while others simply recognize in it a useful rhetorical move. You patiently expose the flaws in their argument, but then they hit you with “Well, it’s true for me” or “Well, that’s my truth, anyway” etc.
The only person I have ever come across who (so I’m told) really goes for blanket hard-core if-you-believe-it-then-it’s-true relativism, is the actress Shirley MacLaine.