Between 'objectivism' and 'contextualism': The normative foundations of social philosophy

Critical Horizons 1 (2):193-227 (2000)
Abstract
One of the principal challenges facing contemporary social philosophy is how to find foundations that are normatively robust yet congruent with its self-understanding. Social philosophy is a critical project within modernity, an interpretative horizon that stresses the influences of history and context on knowledge and experience. However, if it is to engage in intercultural dialogue and normatively robust social critique,social philosophy requires non-arbitrary,universal normative standards.The task of normative foundations can thus be formulated in terms of negotiating the tension between 'contextualism' and 'objectivism'. Six contemporary responses to this challenge are examined.Their respective limitations call for renewed reflection on justificatory strategies, in particular for a conception of 'objectivity' based in a normative theory of social learning processes.
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