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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Relativist Fallacy

 

Man: On average, human males are stronger than human females.

 

Woman: That may be true for most females, though not for me.

 

Here, I’ve illustrated the relativist fallacy which one source describes thusly:

 

The relativist fallacy, also known as the subjectivist fallacy, is claiming that something is true for one person but not true for someone else, when in fact that thing is an objective fact. The fallacy rests on the law of noncontradiction. The fallacy applies only to objective facts, or what are alleged to be objective facts, rather than to facts about personal tastes or subjective experiences, and only to facts regarded in the same sense and at the same time.

 

While the man in my example addresses an empirically-supported fact, the woman doesn’t concur with the factual proposition which is supported with objective evidence. Rather, she uses a subjective experience to negate the man’s claim.

 

According to one source, the logical form of this illogical and unreasonable fallacy is as follows:

 

Logical Form:

 

Person 1 claims that Y is true.

 

Person 2 claims that Y is true for some people, but not for everyone (even though empirical evidence demonstrates otherwise).

 

Although it’s true that some human females are stronger than some human males, the man in my example issues a claim on averages, not regarding the specific woman. Therefore, the woman’s response represents a logical fallacy.

 

The reason I consider this a relevant topic is because when practicing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I’ve realized how self-disturbing beliefs can be disputed fairly easily if an individual understands the relativist fallacy.

 

Then again, I bet you don’t experience this problem, because you don’t disturb yourself. (See what I did there?)

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


 

References:

 

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, January 8). Logic and reason. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/logic-and-reason

Hollings, D. (2024, April 22). On disputing. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-disputing

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Logically Fallacious. (n.d.). Subjectivist fallacy. Retrieved from https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/logicalfallacies/Subjectivist-Fallacy

Miller, A. E., MacDougall, J. D., Tarnopolsky, M. A., and Sale, D. G. (1993). Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8477683/

Wayhomestudio. (n.d.). Frightened dark skinned female outstretches palms, makes protective gesture, has worried nervous facial expression, asks not come closer, wears optical glasses and overalls, isolated on purple wall [Image]. Freepik. Retrieved from https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/frightened-dark-skinned-female-outstretches-palms-makes-protective-gesture-has-worried-nervous-facial-expression-asks-come-closer-wears-optical-glasses-overalls-isolated-purple-wall_11579587.htm#fromView=search&page=1&position=31&uuid=d415a779-3fd7-47bc-b351-9caaf08989e7

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Law of noncontradiction. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_noncontradiction

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Relativist fallacy. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativist_fallacy

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Sex differences in human physiology. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_human_physiology

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