This is how Alan Sokal puts that point:
“Jean (Bricmont) and I were in Brazil… at the University of Sao Paolo… we had long discussions with anthropologists who refused to admit that a culture’s cosmology could be objectively true or false. Their beliefs about the origin of the universe or the movements of the planets could only be judged true or false relative to a culture. And not just questions of cosmology, also questions of history. So we asked, ‘Is the assertion that millions of native Americans died in the wake of the European invasion not an objective fact of human history, but merely a belief that’s held to be true in some cultures?’ We never got a straightforward answer from them." (Intellectual Impostures, 62)
Does that mean that both p and not-p true may be true according to a third culture – a culture which looks at the other two cultures? Perhaps this culture can believe p and not-p and they too will be true by definition according to this culture.
Alternatively, p, what is true according to Culture 1, is false according to Culture 3. Or p, which is false according to Culture 2, it is true according to Culture 4. And so on...
According to our Culture 1, the statement "that millions of native Americans died in the wake of the European invasion" is true. It is false according to Culture 2. Perhaps it's both true and false to Culture 3 (or its own subcultures). Surely it's true that the earth revolves around the Sun. Why should it make a difference that Culture 5 believes that the earth revolves around the moon or that the moon is made of cheese?
So which culture is relativism relative to? Surely not America and Europe at large. Perhaps relativism is only true according to a handful of universities and publishing houses in America and Europe. In that's the case (that cultures establish what is true and false), then how small can a culture actually be? A single university department? A group of people within that university department? Two people within that department?
Good Minorities Bad Minorities
1) blacks fox hunters2) lesbians macho communities3) Muslims ‘Christian fundamentalists’4) red Indian scalpers SS exterminators and Viking rapists
Relative Truths Objective Truths
1) Capitalist democracy works. Sexism is bad.2) The Christian God is male. British imperialism was disastrous.3) Islam is violent. Islam is a peaceful religion.
"science is just one of many ways of knowing the world. The Zunis’ world-view is just as valid as the archaeological viewpoint of what prehistory is about".