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Difference between Absolutism and Relativism

Difference between Absolutism and Relativism

Absolutism and relativism are philosophical terms used to describe two different yet related theories of knowledge. The absolutist view holds that there is a single, absolute truth that can be known through reasonable means, whereas the relativist believes that one’s own perspective or interpretation of a particular fact is the most accurate. While these two fundamental approaches differ greatly in scope and method, they both strive to explain what constitutes knowledge and the sources thereof. In this post, we will discuss their respective merits and differences in detail so that readers can come away with a better understanding of what each term signifies.

What is Absolutism?

  • Absolutism is a form of government in which one ruler has complete and absolute control of the ruling nation. Absolutist rulers generally reject any form of democracy, citing their divine right to rule or inherited power as the sole reason for their authority.
  • Absolutist regimes are often criticized for placing personal desires over public interests, promoting inefficiency, and stifling creativity and innovation. Absolutism can exist in a wide variety of forms, ranging from limited autocracy to nearly absolute dictatorship.
  • Often, Absolutism is seen in conjunction with other forms of authoritarian governance such as Social Darwinism and Totalitarianism, highlighting the oppressive tendencies often associated with it.

What is Relativism?

Relativism is an incredibly interesting philosophical concept worth exploring. Relativism proposes that the truth of individual circumstances is relative to the perspective of an individual perceiving it.

  • In other words, knowledge and understanding are subjective rather than objective. Relativism suggests that ethical judgments, beliefs, and values differ from person to person and there is no universal standard meant for all people.
  • Thus, what may be considered socially acceptable in one society may not be so in another on account of various cultural norms or traditions being at play.
  • Relativism must be taken into careful consideration if we ever hope to truly understand the intricate nature of our beliefs and values in the world we live in today.

Difference between Absolutism and Relativism

  • Absolutism and relativism are two different approaches to understanding the world. Absolutism is an approach that follows a static set of values, rules, and principles, with these ideas remaining fixed over time.
  • On the other hand, relativism is an approach that considers right and wrong as dependent on particular contexts or cultures. While absolutism may provide a sense of stability and certainty in life, relativism encourages people to be open to differing perspectives and values.
  • Ultimately, it may be useful to draw upon both absolutism and relativism while navigating life’s complexities in order to gain a fuller understanding of our ever-changing world.


In conclusion, we have looked at the difference between absolutism and relativism. We have seen that absolutism is the belief that there are objective moral values, while relativism is the belief that morality is subjective. We have also seen that both views have their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, it is up to each individual to decide which view they think is correct.

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