Markus Seidel Westfälische Wilhelms Universität, Münster
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About me
I am a philosopher of science at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Münster (Germany). I have a special interest in the question of relativism in the philosophy and the sociology of science. In my PhD thesis I have attacked epistemic relativism in the sociology of science and defended an absolutist approach that nevertheless captures the basic relativistic intuition of allowing rational/reasonable disagreement between users of different epistemic systems.
My works
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  1. Markus Seidel (forthcoming). Changing Society by Scientific Investigations? The Unexpected Shared Ground Between Early Sociology of Knowledge and the Vienna Circle. Foundations of Science:1-12.
    In this paper, I show that there are important but hitherto unnoticed similarities between key figures of the Vienna Circle and early defenders of sociology of knowledge. The similarities regard their stance on potential implications of the study of science for political and societal issues. I argue that notably Otto Neurath and Karl Mannheim are concerned with proposing a genuine political philosophy of science that is remarkably different from today’s emerging interest in the relation between science and society in philosophy (...)
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  2. Markus Seidel (2014). Epistemic Relativism. A Constructive Critique. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Are our beliefs justified only relatively to a specific culture or society? Is it possible to give reasons for the superiority of our scientific, epistemic methods? Markus Seidel sets out to answer these questions in his critique of epistemic relativism. Focusing on the work of the most prominent, explicitly relativist position in the sociology of scientific knowledge – so-called 'Edinburgh relativism' or the 'Strong Programme' –, he scrutinizes the key arguments for epistemic relativism from a philosophical perspective: underdetermination and norm-circularity. (...)
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  3. Markus Seidel (2014). Throwing the Baby Out with the Water: From Reasonably Scrutinizing Authorities to Rampant Scepticism About Expertise. Informal Logic 34 (2):192-218.
    In this paper, I argue that many arguments from expert opinion are strong arguments. Therefore, in many cases it is rational to rely on experts since in many cases the fact that an expert says that p makes it highly likely that p is true. I will defend this claim by providing 5 arguments that illuminate and elaborate on 5 crucial claims about expertise. In this way, I aim to undermine recent attempts to establish a rampant scepticism about arguments from (...)
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  4. Julia Friederike Göhner & Markus Seidel (2013). Promiscuous Objects, Hybrid Truth and Scientific Realism. In Marie Kaiser & Ansgar Seide (eds.), Philip Kitcher. Pragmatic Naturalism. ontos. 111-127.
    Philip Kitcher’s account of scientific realism in 'The Advancement of Science' (AS) differs from his account in 'Science, Truth and Democracy' (STD). We demonstrate that (1) contrary to appearance, Kitcher in AS proposes a so-called Kantian realism that is accompanied not by a correspondence theory, but by a hybrid conception of truth. (2) Also, we point out that Kitcher does not pertain to the “promiscuous realism” proposed in STD stringently, but falls back on his Kantian realism of AS at points. (...)
     
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  5. Markus Seidel, Between Relativism and Absolutism? – The Failure of Kuhn’s Moderate Relativism. Was Dürfen Wir Glauben? Was Sollen Wir Tun? Sektionsbeiträge des Achten Internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie E.V.
    In this paper I argue that a moderate form of epistemic relativism that is inspired by the work of Thomas Kuhn fails. First of all, it is shown that there is evidence to the effect that Kuhn already in his 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions' proposes moderate relativism. Second, it is argued that moderate relativism is confronted with a severe dilemma that follows from Kuhn’s own argument for his relativistic conclusion. By focusing on the work of moderate relativists like Bernd (...)
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  6. Markus Seidel (2013). K. Brad Wray: Kuhn's Evolutionary Social Epistemology. [REVIEW] ZTS - Zeitschrift für Theoretische Soziologie 2:328-332.
  7. Markus Seidel (2013). Scylla and Charybdis of the Epistemic Relativist: Why the Epistemic Relativist Still Cannot Use the Sceptic's Strategy. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):145-149.
  8. Markus Seidel (2013). Why the Epistemic Relativist Cannot Use the Sceptic's Strategy. A Comment on Sankey. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):134-139.
  9. Richard Schantz & Markus Seidel (2011). The Problem of Relativism in the Sociology of (Scientific) Knowledge. ontos.
    This volume comprises original articles by leading authors – from philosophy as well as sociology – in the debate around relativism in the sociology of (scientific) knowledge. Its aim has been to bring together several threads from the relevant disciplines and to cover the discussion from historical and systematic points of view. Among the contributors are Maria Baghramian, Barry Barnes, Martin Endreß, Hubert Knoblauch, Richard Schantz and Harvey Siegel.
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  10. Markus Seidel (2011). Karl Mannheim, Relativism and Knowledge in the Natural Sciences – A Deviant Interpretation. In Richard Schantz & Markus Seidel (eds.), The Problem of Relativism in the Sociology of (Scientific) Knowledge. ontos.
    The paper focuses on one central aspect of Karl Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge: his exemption of the contents of mathematics and the natural sciences from sociological investigations. After emphasizing the importance of Mannheim’s contribution and his exemption-thesis to the history and development of the field and the problem of relativism, I survey several interpretations of the thesis – especially those put forward by proponents of the so-called ‘Strong Programme’. I argue that these interpretations do not get the philosophical background and (...)
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  11. Markus Seidel (2011). Relativism or Relationism? A Mannheimian Interpretation of Fleck's Claims About Relativism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 42 (2):219-240.
    The paper explores the defence by the early sociologist of science Ludwik Fleck against the charge of relativism. It is shown that there are crucial and hitherto unnoticed similarities between Fleck’s strategy and the attempt by his contemporary Karl Mannheim to distinguish between an incoherent relativism and a consistent relationism. Both authors seek to revise epistemology fundamentally by reinterpreting the concept of objectivity in two ways: as inner- and inter-style objectivity. The argument for the latter concept shows the genuine political (...)
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  12. Markus Seidel & Arne Weber (2010). Trivial, Platitudinous, Boring? Searle on Conceptual Relativism. In Dirk Franken, Attila Karakus & Jan Michel (eds.), John R. Searle. Thinking About the Real World. Ontos.
    In this paper we explore Searle’s defense of conceptual relativism. It emerges that Searle formulates the thesis in many different ways and that contrary to his contention not all are trivial and platitudinous. Specifically he does not distinguish clearly between an ontological and a linguistic version of conceptual relativism as well as between weak difference and stronger incommensurability of conceptual schemes. This has consequences for Searle’s defense of external realism.
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  13. Nicola Mößner & Markus Seidel (2008). Is the Principle of Testimony Simply Epistemically Fundamental or Simply Not? Swinburne on Knowledge by Testimony. In Nicola Mößner, Sebastian Schmoranzer & Christian Weidemann (eds.), Richard Swinburne. Christian Philosophy in a Modern World. Ontos.
    The recently much discussed phenomenon of testimony as a social source of knowledge plays a crucial justificatory role in Richard Swinburne's philosophy of religion. Although Swinburne officially reduces his principle of testimony to the criterion of simplicity and, therefore, to a derivative epistemic source, we will show that simplicity does not play the crucial role in this epistemological context. We will argue that both Swinburne's philosophical ideas and his formulations allow for a fundamental epistemic principle of testimony, by showing that (...)
     
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  14. Markus Seidel (2008). Von Wahrheit über Bedeutung zum Anti-Begriffsrelativismus? Davidsons Argumentation gegen den Begriffsrelativismus. Facta Philosophica 10 (1):39-66.
    Since Davidson's proposal to use a Tarskian theory of truth in order to develop a theory of meaning has been criticised extensively, it is decisive to ask whether Davidson needs such a theory as an assumption and premise in other parts of his work. Especially, many authors have claimed that Davidson's argument in his paper 'On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme' depends on his approach in the theory of meaning. It is argued that this interpretation is wrong and (...)
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