Witchcraft, relativism and the problem of the criterion

Erkenntnis 72 (1):1 - 16 (2010)
This paper presents a naturalistic response to the challenge of epistemic relativism. The case of the Azande poison oracle is employed as an example of an alternative epistemic norm which may be used to justify beliefs about everyday occurrences. While a distinction is made between scepticism and relativism, an argument in support of epistemic relativism is presented that is based on the sceptical problem of the criterion. A response to the resulting relativistic position is then provided on the basis of a particularist response to scepticism combined with a naturalistic approach to the warrant of epistemic norms. It is argued that it is possible to comparatively assess the ability of epistemic norms to lead to epistemic aims. As against the epistemic relativist, it is possible to provide an objective basis for the choice between alternative epistemic norms.
Keywords Philosophy   Logic   Ethics   Ontology   Epistemology   Philosophy
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DOI 10.2307/20642277
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References found in this work BETA
Roderick M. Chisholm (1966). Theory of Knowledge. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.

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Citations of this work BETA
Howard Sankey (2012). Scepticism, Relativism and the Argument From the Criterion. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):182-190.
Howard Sankey (2011). Epistemic Relativism and the Problem of the Criterion. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):562-570.
Steven Bland (2013). Scepticism, Relativism, and the Structure of Epistemic Frameworks. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (4):539-544.

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