Fear of relativism? [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 141 (3):379 - 390 (2008)
§1 To many in or on the edges of the Academy, ”Relativism” is a word with overtones of sinister iconoclasm, representing a kind of intellectual and ethical free-for-all in which the traditional investigative virtues of clarity, rigour, objectivity, consistency and the unbiased pursuit of truth are dismissed as illusory and the great scientific constructions of the last two hundred years, together with our deepest moral convictions, rated merely as ‘our way of seeing’ the world, more elaborate and organised but otherwise on all fours with the cosmology and customs of primitive tribes. In his short book, Paul Boghossian aims to address, and to expose as bankrupt, the idea that there is even a coherent, let alone defensible philosophical stance about truth and knowledge that can underwrite these ‘pluralist’, or ‘postmodernist’ tendencies. But since it is crucial to his project that his style of discussion make it available to non-specialists, much of the recent more technical, less emotional debate within analytical philosophy about relativism’s renaissance as a particular form of semantic theory is passed over unmentioned. Part of my aim in what follows is to illustrate how Boghossian's discussion connects quite straightforwardly with relativism in its contemporary analytical philosophical livery—what I have elsewhere called New Age relativism1— and how some of his critical arguments may be presented in that setting. My main contentions will be, first, that when relativism about epistemic justification, and about morals, are couched in the currently canonical sort of form, they still remain in range of artillery that Boghossian positions in chapter 6 of his book; second, that there is evasive action that they can..
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy of Religion Philosophy of Mind Epistemology Logic Philosophy|
|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
Paul Artin Boghossian (2006). Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism. Oxford University Press.
Paul Artin Boghossian (2007). The Case Against Epistemic Relativism: Replies to Rosen and Neta. Episteme 4 (1):49-65.
Hartry Field (1980). Science Without Numbers. Princeton University Press.
John Hawthorne (2007). Eavesdroppers and Epistemic Modals. Philosophical Issues 17 (1):92-101.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Patrick Greenough (2011). Truth-Relativism, Norm-Relativism, and Assertion. In Brown J. & Cappelen H. (eds.), Assertion: New Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press.
Christian Miller (2002). Rorty and Moral Relativism. European Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):354–374.
Graham Mark Long (2004). Relativism and the Foundations of Liberalism. Imprint Academic.
Howard Sankey (2012). Scepticism, Relativism and the Argument From the Criterion. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):182-190.
Steven D. Hales (ed.) (2011). A Companion to Relativism. Wiley-Blackwell.
Maria Baghramian (2004). Relativism. Routledge.
Mark Kalderon (2009). Epistemic Relativism. Philosophical Review 118 (2):225-240.
Gideon Rosen (2007). The Case Against Epistemic Relativism: Reflections on Chapter 6 of Fear of Knowledge. Episteme 4 (1):10-29.
H. G. Callaway (2009). Fear of Knowledge, Against Relativism and Constructivism – by Paul Artin Boghossian. Dialectica 63 (3):357-360.
Ram Neta (2007). In Defense of Epistemic Relativism. Episteme 4 (1):30-48.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads181 ( #4,484 of 1,413,333 )
Recent downloads (6 months)11 ( #19,463 of 1,413,333 )
How can I increase my downloads?