Taves: Let us begin with the claim that universities are deadly to serious intellectual work. The university ethos fosters mediocrity, boredom and gutlessness. It has become a haven for conformist intellectuals who value patronage and status over intellectual quality and challenge. “Radical” academics are no exception; they too have bought into hyperspecialization, empiricism, professionalization, abstract theory, and have become marginal, predictable and politically irrelevant. If such is the case, what are the implications? Siegel: There is certainly a sense of (...) pervasive malaise on campus. Everyone seems to agree that there is an institutional and intellectual crisis of the disciplines. (shrink)
In his 1983 article, Paul A. Roth defends the Quinean project of naturalized epistemology from the criticism presented in my 1980 article. In this note I would like to respond to Roth's effort. I will argue that, while helpful in advancing and clarifying the issues, Roth's defense of naturalized epistemology does not succeed. The primary topic to be clarified is Quine's "no first philosophy" doctrine; but I will address myself to other points as well.
Le Monde's financial analyst Paul Fabra captured the essence of the Western “Alliances'” difficulties in an article describing European reactions to Carter and Reagan economic policies. Under Carter he noted, the U.S. initially followed an expansionary policy of low interest rates and increased public spending driving the dollar downward. The cheaper dollar increased both American exports to Europe and European complaints about American competition. Reagan reversed course and the Europeans had a different, though equally intense set of grievances. “The (...) fact is,” concluded Fabra, “Europe is uncomfortable with a strong or weak dollar.” He might have said a strong or weak America. (shrink)
The thirty-three essays in <I>Relativism: A Contemporary Anthology</I> grapple with one of the most intriguing, enduring, and far-reaching philosophical problems of our age. Relativism comes in many varieties. It is often defined as the belief that truth, goodness, or beauty is relative to some context or reference frame, and that no absolute standards can adjudicate between competing reference frames. Michael Krausz's anthology captures the significance and range of relativistic doctrines, rehearsing their virtues and vices and reflecting on a spectrum of (...) attitudes. Invoking diverse philosophical orientations, these doctrines concern conceptions of relativism in relation to facts and conceptual schemes, realism and objectivity, universalism and foundationalism, solidarity and rationality, pluralism and moral relativism, and feminism and poststructuralism. Featuring nine original essays, the volume also includes many classic articles, making it a standard resource for students, scholars, and researchers. <B>Table of Contents:</B> Foreword by Alan Ryan Preface Introduction Michael Krausz <B>Part I. Orienting Relativism</B> 1. Mapping Relativisms Michael Krausz 2. A Brief History of Relativism Maria Baghramian <B>Part II. Relativism, Truth, and Knowledge</B> 3. Subjective, Objective, and Conceptual Relativisms Maurice Mandelbaum 4. “Just the Facts, Ma’am!” Nelson Goodman 5. Relativism in Philosophy of Science Nancy Cartwright 6. The Truth About Relativism Joseph Margolis 7. Making Sense of Relative Truth John MacFarlane 8. On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme Donald Davidson 9. Truth and Convention: On Davidson’s Refutation of Conceptual Relativism Hilary Putnam 10. Conceptual Schemes Simon Blackburn 11. Relativizing the Facts Paul A. Boghossian 12. Targets of Anti-Relativist Arguments Harvey Siegel 13. Realism and Relativism Akeel Bilgrami <B>Part III. Moral Relativism, Objectivity, and Reasons</B> 14. Moral Relativism Defended Gilbert Harman 15. The Truth in Relativism Bernard Williams 16. Pluralism and Ambivalence David B. Wong 17. The Relativity of Fact and the Objectivity of Value Catherine Z. Elgin 18. Senses of Moral Relativity David Wiggins 19. Ethical Relativism and the Problem of Incoherence David Lyons 20. Understanding Alien Morals Gopal Sreenivasan 21. Value: Realism and Objectivity Thomas Nagel 22. Intuitionism, Realism, Relativism, and Rhubarb Crispin Wright 23. Moral Relativism and Moral Realism Russ Schafer-Landau <B>Part IV. Relativism, Culture, and Understanding</B> 24. Anti Anti-Relativism Clifford Geertz 25. Solidarity or Objectivity? Richard Rorty 26. Relativism, Power, and Philosophy Alasdair MacIntyre 27. Internal Criticism and Indian Rationalist Traditions Martha C. Nussbaum and Amartya Sen 28. Phenomenological Rationality and the Overcoming of Relativism Jitendra N. Mohanty 29. Understanding and Ethnocentricity Charles Taylor 30. Relativism and Cross-Cultural Understanding Kwame Anthony Appiah 31. Relativism, Persons, and Practices Amélie Oksenberg Rorty 32. One What? Relativism and Poststructuralism David Couzens Hoy 33. Must a Feminist Be a Relativist After All? Lorraine Code List of Contributors Index. (shrink)
In his review (Inquiry 32 , pp. 343?69) of Paul Feyerabend's Farewell to Reason, Harvey Siegel makes a fairly simple point: Feyerabend provides a bad argument for a good cause. In particular, Siegel maintains that the argument suffers, first, from self?inflicted depreciation: having been rendered impotent by Feyerabend's views of objectivity and rationality, what claim to persuasion can his argument possibly hold? And second, the argument is said to be incoherent: instead of respecting and leaving alone diverse (...) cultures and traditions as required by his views, Feyerabend fails to honor the right of people in several ways by formulating from afar abstract principles of cultural autonomy. Having debunked the argument, what remains is at least a semblance of agreement when Siegel identifies a shared concern with the value of cultural diversity on a world?wide scale. In response to Siegel this paper argues: yes, in an important sense, Feyerabend's argument is admittedly impotent and admission of that is a mere matter of acuity and intellectual honesty; but no, the argument is not incoherent, nor is there even a shared concern with the preservation of traditions in non?Western cultures. In other words, misunderstanding runs deep: a rationalist's objective misapprehension of Feyerabend's rhetorical devices. From this criticism of Siegel's criticism an alternative account emerges. Farewell to Reason poses a simple, but deeply troubling question: do the success and the benefits of science and technology warrant or require a social arrangement which privileges the highly specialized development of certain human faculties at the expense of others? The response to Siegel concludes with a survey of more creative ways in which philosophy can and should take up Feyerabend's challenge. (shrink)
∗Thanks to J. C. Beall, Alex Byrne, Jason Decker, Tyler Doggett, Paul Elbourne, Adam Elga, Warren Goldfarb, Delia Graﬀ, Richard Heck, Charles Parsons, Mark Richard, Susanna Siegel, Jason Stanley, Judith Thomson, Carol Voeller, Brian Weatherson, Ralph Wedgwood, Steve Yablo, Cheryl Zoll, and an anonymous referee for valuable comments and discussions. Versions of this material were presented in my seminar at MIT in the Fall of 2000, and at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Parts of this paper also (...) derive from my comments on a paper of Scott Soames at the ‘Liars and Heaps’ conference at the University of Connecticut in the Fall of 2002. I am grateful for the help of these audiences, and especially to Prof. Soames. (shrink)
Some proponents of epistemological approaches to argumentation (Biro, Siegel, Lumer, Goldman) assume that it should be possible to develop non-relative criteria of argument evaluation. By contrast, this paper argues that any evaluation of an argument depends (a) on the cognitive situation of the evaluator, (b) on background knowledge that is available for this evaluator in a certain situation, and (c)--in some cases--on the belief-value-system this person shares.
Critiques of liberalism are a dime a dozen. With every generation they come in and out of fashion like changing lipstick colors. This does not mean, however, that all is well in a context of perennial cyclic crisis alternating liberalism and conservatism. As Siegel shows in his account of liberalism's recent authoritarian involution, the latest developments mark a sharp departure from some of the better American political traditions. Specifically, the disintegration of pragmatism as a result of the Vietnam fiasco (...) and racial strife in the 1960s contributed to the concretization of what were at least latent anti-democratic tendencies into a procedural elitism oblivious to substantive realities and the human dimension. (shrink)