Graduate studies at Western
Philosophical Issues 14 (1):271–295 (2004)
|Abstract||Epistemic relativism rejects the idea that claims can be assessed from a universally applicable, objective standpoint. It is greatly disdained because it suggests that the real ‘basis’ for our views is something fleeting, such as ‘‘the techniques of mass persuasion’’ (Thomas Kuhn 1970) or the determination of intellectuals to achieve ‘‘solidarity’’ (Rorty 1984) or ‘‘keep the conversation going’’ (Rorty 1979). But epistemic relativism, like skepticism, is far easier to despise than to convincingly refute, for two main reasons. First, its definition is unclear, so we cannot always tell where relativism leaves off and other views, such as skepticism or subjectivism, begin. Consequently, it can be difficult to tell when a criticism has done enough. Second, the grounds for relativism are unclear, which can make it hard to know how to attack it or whether we have dismantled all of the ways of supporting it.|
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