David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Value Inquiry 26 (3):395-407 (1992)
It may seem to their opponents that they are trying to have their cake and eat it too. Postmodernists admit that their own paradigm must be and will be placed into question by future thinkers. But if they can anticipate an eventual reaffirmation of their paradoxical stand in an ongoing oscillating debate, then cannot it be said that they have arrived at a truth that transcends their time and place in history? And, if so, is not their fallibilist stance in fact self-referentially inconsistent? The response of postmodernists is the claim that each reaffirmation of a fallibilist epistemology and ethics throughout history is in fact sui generis. And this is the case because each reaffirmation has its own unique context within which it is made. Modernists will of course argue that these contextual differences are nonessential and irrelevant. And the debate over the problem of the One and the Many is once again launched in a new context. Thus far from running away from the paradoxical position that what they assert is both true and false, postmodernists revel in such inconsistencies.But does not such an ethical stance resemble the Sisyphean nightmare of being condemned to roll a heavy stone up a cliff only to have it keep falling back to the bottom ad infinitum? If no decision is innocent of doing some harm in the world, why should we bother to play the moral game at all? Indeed, what possible help is a postmodernist ethics when it comes to making some of the complex and crucial decisions we face today if it refuses to say anything substantial beyond the recommendations that we be cautious and balanced?And the postmodernist can only reply that we are letting our neurotic need for solid foundations frighten us. For ethics is an art not a science. There are no absolute rules. If we do not like the way the game is set up, then we are simply revealing our ultimate hubris in the face of a mystery requiring deep humility
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jason Ferrell (2008). The Alleged Relativism of Isaiah Berlin. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 11 (1):41-56.
Jason Ferrell (2009). Isaiah Berlin: Liberalism and Pluralism in Theory and Practice. Contemporary Political Theory 8 (3):295.
Similar books and articles
Henry Hardy (ed.) (2009). The Book of Isaiah: Personal Impressions of Isaiah Berlin. In Association with Wolfson College.
Christopher Ben Simpson (2009). Religion, Metaphysics, and the Postmodern: William Desmond and John D. Caputo. Indiana University Press.
Jane Heal (1974). Essays on J. L. Austin By Sir Isaiah Berlin, L. W. Forguson, D. F. Pears, G. Pitcher, J. R. Searle, P. F. Strawson and G. J. Warnock Clarendon Press, 1973, 190 Pp. £3.00. [REVIEW] Philosophy 49 (188):219-.
Isaiah Berlin, Edna Ullmann-Margalit & Avishai Margalit (eds.) (1991). Isaiah Berlin: A Celebration. University of Chicago Press.
Alex Zakaras (2004). Isaiah Berlin's Cosmopolitan Ethics. Political Theory 32 (4):495-518.
Shaun Gallagher (1993). The Place of Phronesis in Postmodern Hermeneutics. Philosophy Today 37 (3):298-305.
Isaiah Berlin (1997/2001). Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas. Princeton University Press.
Isaiah Berlin, João Carlos Espada, Marc F. Plattner & Adam Wolfson (eds.) (2001). Pluralism Without Relativism: Remembering Sir Isaiah Berlin. Lexington Books.
Isaiah Berlin (1992). Reply to Ronald H. McKinney, “Towards a Postmodern Ethics: Sir Isaiah Berlin and John Caputo”. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 26 (4):557-560.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads4 ( #272,063 of 1,140,006 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?