David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 25 (2):199 – 216 (1982)
In this paper I show how to treat problems in the philosophy of the social sciences, in particular anthropology, without the need to settle questions in the theory of meaning about realism and anti?realism. In doing this, I show how it is possible, contrary to received opinion, to ward off conceptual relativism without adoption of realist semantics. The argument involves sketching the feasibility of a viable non?realist concept of objectivity. Having distinguished the required notion of objectivity, I then bring this to bear on issues that have dominated the philosophy of anthropology in recent years: the translatability of ritual beliefs; the adequacy of symbolist anthropology; the concept of rationality. I offer a new way of handling these issues which supports an anti?realist, but intellectualist, account of ritual belief
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