Universalism Vs. Relativism, By Mathias Risse

714 Words3 Pages
In reading Universalism Vs Relativism, by Mathias Risse, I found the article was outlining theoretical concepts that I have learned in an Introduction to Political Science Research Methods Class. This class outlined the debate between the positivists and interpretivists, which pertains to arguments of what humans can definitively know and measure within reality, and how objective one can truly be while analyzing data. In many ways, the debate between universalism and relativism, that Risse describes, is an extension of this epistemological debate. Relativism suggests, much like the interpretivist viewpoint, that there is an inherent level of social construction in all cultures which dictates perception of reality, norms and institutions. Therefore, by interpretivist standards, the UNHR could never work as each individual’s interpretation of it would differ. Relativism goes beyond this argument to state that not only would their interpretation differ, but their moral obligation to adhering to the UNHR would be compromised. Therefore, a universal moral guide cannot be imposed as there would be no consensus. Additionally, Universalism follows positivism quite closely, as Positivism asserts that everything within human perception can be quantified, creating variables that can be replicated and generalized. Therefore, through the implementation of rationality, universalism works because a set of universal laws can be derived because definitive universal baseline exists and can be

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