This chapter is concerned with the feature of the postmodern approach which has unquestionably occasioned more controversy and outrage than any other and which can be summarised under the notion of relativism. In a trite sense relativism, like solipsism, is evidently valid, for just as when I cease to exist the world will also cease to exist for me, so any judgement, perception or whatever is relative to my own positioning and cannot be otherwise. That is why, to establish anything either in the academic universe or that of human affairs generally, multiple viewpoints are regarded as necessary, and the more viewpoints converging, the better established. The relativism under consideration here however, is much more. It is central to the argument and has attachments to all the other issues at stake — the role of language, representation, gender, culture, multiple voices, and so forth. It amounts to nothing less than the claim that historically and discursively conditioned modes of cognition or ethical systems are incommensurable — that there is no ground on which one can be evaluated against another.
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