Realists about tense, or A-theorists of time, believe that some of the facts that fundamentally constitute reality are tensed, and most of them seem to think that those tensed facts are to be understood as fixing the way things are, absolutely speaking, or simpliciter. But there is a simple yet powerful argument, the argument from atemporality, to the effect that realists should reject the absolutist conception of reality’s constitution by facts because, despite appearances to the contrary, that conception is in (...) fact inconsistent with realism about tense. After presenting the argument, I investigate why the relevant inconsistency has not been recognised so far and point to one possible explanation. (shrink)
Lewis Hahn, Editor of Library of Living Philosophers, including Quine, Gadamer, Davidson, Ricoeur, writes: "Professor Allinson’s work [A Metaphysics for the Future] is impressive. I do not remember when in recent years I have read a more exciting systematic study. With a new phenomenology, a distinctive method and unique modes of validation for philosophy, and an extraordinary command of both Eastern and Western philosophy, Professor Allinson develops his own bold, imaginative and challenging system of philosophy". This title was first published (...) in 2001. This work is intended to serve not only as an expression of a new idea of a philosophy, but as an "apologia" for philosophy as a legitimate and independent discipline in its own right. It argues that in the 20th century, truth has not been abandoned, but merely modified. The text proposes a return to truth and suggests that it is only after apprehending the truths of consciousness that the philosopher's mirror may become a kaleidoscope through which reality may be contemplated. First order truth lies in the realm of discovery, and discovery takes place only within the moment of subjective re-enactment. (shrink)
This paper develops a view on which: (a) all fundamental facts are absolute, (b) some facts do not supervene on the fundamental facts, and (c) only relative facts fail to supervene on the fundamental facts.
In this paper, I do four things. First, I argue that Recanati’s recent argument for intentionalist semantics for demonstratives is erroneous. I do this partly by suggesting that demonstrations should be treated as features of Kaplanian context. Second, I explain why the classic ambiguity objection against conventionalist positions regarding demonstratives is not in any way less problematic for intentionalism. Third, I propose a novel semantic framework for demonstratives that is able to simultaneously explain the appeal of some prominent conventionalist and (...) intentionalist intuitions. Finally, I present some additional advantages of my view, e.g. the prospects of unifying the semantics for bare demonstratives with that for other related types of expression. (shrink)
Huw Price holds that a recognizable version of expressivism about normative and modal language can be “globalized” so as to apply to all areas of discourse. He focuses on globalizing the anti-representationalism of expressivist theories. By contrast, this paper’s topic is the seldom-discussed way Price seeks to globalize the expressivist view that “non-descriptive” discourse exhibits subjectivity. I argue that Price’s own argument against the possibility of a purely objective domain conflicts with his anti-representationalism and is self-undermining. I then defend a (...) different strategy for arguing that a kind of subjectivity can emerge even in domains traditional expressivists have regarded as purely objective. I do so by using an account of assertoric practice to offer a new solution to a puzzle concerning how to describe contingent histories in the use of natural kind terms. (shrink)
In this article, I explore the consequences of two commonsensical premises in semantics and epistemology: (1) natural language is a complex system rooted in the communal life of human beings within a given environment; and (2) linguistic knowledge is essentially dependent on natural language. These premises lead me to emphasize the process-socio-environmental character of linguistic meaning and knowledge, from which I proceed to analyse a number of long-standing philosophical problems, attempting to throw new light upon them on these grounds. In (...) particular, I criticize the use of expressions such as ‘absolute truth’, ‘absolute existence’ and ‘the thing in itself’, arguing that they lead to what I call ‘the ultralinguistic paradox’ (a fatal antinomy). In the same way, I review a number of mainstream topics in philosophical semantics, epistemology and metaphysics, reformulating them in terms much more naturalistic – and less mysterious – than usual. (shrink)
In philosophy, as in any other theoretical endeavor, it is not rare to find conflicting but equally well grounded positions. Besides defending one of the positions and criticizing the other, philosophers can opt for pursuing other, more sophisticated, approaches aimed at incorporating the insights, intuitions, and arguments from both sides of the debate into a unified theory: Dialetheism, Analetheism, Gradualism, Pluralism and Relativism. The purpose of this article is to present each strategy's basic argumentative structure, relative strengths, and challenges, trying (...) to determine in which situations one is more appropriate than the others. Despite substantial differences between them, all four options have deep structural similarities; and which option is better for which dilemma or paradox will depend ultimately on a combination of epistemological, linguistic, and metaphysical factors. (shrink)
Article in question holds in epistemological implications of the revolution copernicana of Immanuel Kant, whose perspective, emerging of borders that inter-related rationalism of Leibniz, empiricism Hume and science positive physical-mathematics Newton, introduces the horizon of idealism transcendental, establish the correlation fundamental involving the subject and object of knowledge.
Der Relativismus gehört zu den wichtigsten Themen von Simmels Philosophie. Die Bedeutung des Relativismus wird anhand dreier Aspekte skizziert: Erstens betont Simmel selbst die zentrale Stellung des Relativismus für seine philosophische Entwicklung. Zweitens hat Simmel aufgrund seines Bekenntnisses zum Relativismus einen besonderen Platz in der Geschichte der deutschsprachigen Philosophie. Simmel war vermutlich der erste deutschsprachige Philosoph, der seine Position als eine relativistische charakterisierte und diese gegenüber der antirelativistischen Grundhaltung seiner Zeitgenossen verteidigte. Drittens besteht in Simmels Versuchen den positiven Gehalt des (...) Relativismus zu bestimmen die Aktualität seiner Philosophie. (shrink)
Semantic relativism is the view that the truth-value of some types of statements can vary depending on factors besides possible worlds and times, without any change in their propositional content. It has grown increasingly popular as a semantic theory of several types of statements, including statements that attribute knowledge of a proposition to a subject (knowledge attributions). The ways of knowing claim is the view that perception logically implies knowledge. In my “Semantic Relativism and Ways of Knowing” (2019) I argued (...) that a relativist semantics for knowledge attributions is incompatible with the ways of knowing claim. I suggested that this incompatibility depends on some basic features of the logic of relativist semantics, and therefore can be shown to generalise beyond the discussion of knowledge attributions to semantic relativism more broadly. Here I make this generalisation. I demonstrate that for any proposition p expressed by a statement that does not have a relativist semantics, and for any proposition q expressed by a statement that does have a relativist semantics, p fails to logically imply q. I explain why this happens, discuss some of its philosophical consequences, and consider a way to modify relativist semantics to avoid it. I conclude that semantic relativism raises interesting philosophical questions that have gone largely unnoticed in discussions of this view until now. (shrink)
Das Thema des vorliegenden Aufsatzes ist Georg Simmels »relativistische[s] Weltbild« , anhand dessen die Prinzipien seiner Kulturphilosophie dargelegt werden. Im ersten Teil wird die systematische Fragestellung der Philosophie des Geldes im historischen Kontext rekonstruiert. Dabei steht der philosophiegeschichtliche Zusammenhang zwischen dem Wertproblem und der Debatte um den Relativismus im Zentrum. Im zweiten Teil wird Simmels kulturphilosophische Lösung des Wertproblems, durch die das Geld zum Paradigma seines Relativismus wird, systematisch analysiert. Der dritte Teil setzt sich mit dem Prinzip der kulturellen Formung (...) auseinander. Am Beispiel der Formwelt Erkenntnis wird die Grundlage von Simmels Kulturtheorie in toto dargelegt. Der vierte Teil wendet sich der Weiterentwicklung von Simmels Kulturtheorie in seiner späten Lebensphilosophie zu. Dabei wird einerseits seine Theorie der kulturellen Formwelten analysiert, und andererseits deren Integration in eine umfassende Dialektik des Lebens nachvollzogen. Im fünften Teil wird die Frage gestellt, ob Simmel aus heutiger Sicht als ein Relativist zu bezeichnen ist. Dabei wird argumentiert, dass Simmels kulturphilosophische Position große Ähnlichkeiten mit dem konzeptuellen Relativismus hat, der gegenwärtig von Carol Rovane vertreten wird. Deshalb plädiere ich dafür Simmel in der gegenwärtigen Debatte um den Relativismus ernster zu nehmen. (shrink)
What does it take for Islam and science to engage in a genuine conversation with each other? This essay is an attempt to answer this question by clarifying the conditions which make having such a conversation possible and plausible. I will first distinguish between three notions of conversation: the trivial conversation (which requires sharing a common language and the meaning of its ordinary expressions), superficial conversation (in which although the language is shared, the communicators fail to share the meaning of (...) their theoretical terms), and genuine conversation (which implies sharing the language and the meaning of ordinary as well as theoretical terms). I will then argue that our real concern with regard to the exchange between Islam and science is to be to specify the conditions under which their proponents can engage in a genuine conversation with each other and that such a conversation to take place essentially requires sharing a common ontology. Following Quine, I will argue that Muslims, like the followers of any religion, would have no other choice but to work from within science. Doing so, however, would not prevent Muslims from having a genuine conversation with the proponents of other worldviews because when the shared ontology fails to offer any potentially testable answer to our remaining questions about the world, the Islamic viewpoint can appear as a genuine alternative among other underdetermined ones, deciding between which would be a matter of pragmatic criteria. (shrink)
Many kinds of relativism have been attributed to Karl Marx. We discuss three broad areas of Marx’s thinking: his theories of history, science, and morality. Along the way, we show that Marx is committed to a version of philosophical naturalism that privileges the results of genuine science over alternative ways of understanding the world. This outlook presupposes the possibility of objective knowledge of the world. It follows that Marx is no relativist (at least in the senses we consider). Unlike many (...) non-relativists, however, Marx pays close attention to the problems with which contemporary philosophers interested in relativism are most preoccupied: irresolvable moral disagreements between social groups, the evolution of institutions and practices over time, and the prominent, perhaps decisive role played by non-cognitive social factors in belief formation. We show how some later Marxists have mistaken this close attention for evidence that Marx himself is a relativist. (shrink)
A pluralistic approach to folk psychology must countenance the evaluative, regulatory, predictive, and explanatory roles played by attributions of intelligence in social practices across cultures. Building off of the work of the psychologist Robert Sternberg and the philosophers Gilbert Ryle and Daniel Dennett, I argue that a relativistic interpretivism best accounts for the many varieties of intelligence that emerge from folk discourse. To be intelligent is to be comparatively good at solving intellectual problems that an interpreter deems worth solving.
This paper reviews arguments concerning the relation between relativism and tolerance, both whether tolerance entails relativism, and whether relativism entails tolerance. Two new arguments are offered to support the contention that there is no necessary relation between relativism and tolerance. In particular, building on the classic argument by Geoffrey Harrison, this paper argues that even if there is no strict dichotomy between facts and values, as Harrison had assumed, relativism still does not entail tolerance for every relativized perspective.
This article reconsiders the relationship between interpretivism about belief and normative standards. Interpretivists have traditionally taken beliefs to be fixed in relation to norms of interpretation. However, recent work by philosophers and psychologists reveals that human belief attribution practices are governed by a rich diversity of normative standards. Interpretivists thus face a dilemma: either give up on the idea that belief is constitutively normative or countenance a context-sensitive disjunction of norms that constitute belief. Either way, interpretivists should embrace the intersubjective (...) indeterminacy of belief. (shrink)
The aim of this chapter is to clarify the meaning and the use of the concept of relativism in the context of National Socialism (NS). This chapter analyzes three aspects of the connection between relativism and NS: The first part examines the critical reproach that NS is a form of relativism. I analyze and criticize the common core of this widespread argument, which is developed in varying contexts, was held in different times, and is still shared by several authors. The (...) second part investigates the ideological debate among Nazi philosophers themselves concerning whether NS is indeed a form of relativism. I focus on the epistemological consequences of Nazi anthropology and analyze both its relativistic tendencies and the strategies used to reject relativism. In contrast to the received view, I argue that Nazi philosophers attempted to overcome both absolutism and relativism. The third part investigates the academic debate on relativism during NS, using the example of the prize question on relativism that was announced by the Prussian Academy of Science in 1936. By examining the academic approaches to the problem of relativism, I also address the question of how broader philosophical debates were related to the core of Nazi ideology. Academic philosophers took the self-understanding of Nazi philosophers seriously. They saw the shared aim of overcoming relativism as an opportunity to collaborate with NS. The brief conclusion summarizes the findings of the chapter. I conclude that, in the context of NS, critics, ideologists, and academics understand and use the concept of relativism in the same way. (shrink)
There is a long-standing view in epistemology that perception is a way of knowing. There is a less long-standing but increasingly popular view that knowledge attributions have a relativist semantics. I discuss three things here. First, I show that it is a consequence of the logic of RKA that WOK and RKA are incompatible. Second, I argue that, even if WOK is incompatible with the main rivals to RKA, this is not a consequence of the logics of these views. RKA (...) comes with a hitherto unobserved philosophical consequence that its main rivals do not come with. Third, I consider some responses to the effect that it does not matter that RKA comes with this consequence, and argue that they are all unsatisfactory as they stand. I conclude that, at the very least, the onus is placed on relativists to engage with more epistemology than they currently do to show that we do not need to worry about the incompatibility of WOK and RKA. I conclude with some suggestions about the broader relevance and implications of this paper. (shrink)
Is Reason a Neutral Tool in Comparative Philosophy? In his answer to the symposium’s question, Jonardon Ganeri develops a »Manifesto for [a] Re:emergent Philosophy.« Tracking changes in the understanding of ›comparative philosophy,‹ he sketches how today’s world of academic philosophy seems to be set to enter an »age of re:emergence« in which world philosophies will be studied through modes of global participation. In their responses, the symposium’s discussants tease out implications of this Manifesto for different issues: While Mustafa Abu Sway (...) suggests that comparative philosophy be understood as an intra-philosophical dialogue, whose aim depends on its participants, Paul Boghossian questions whether there can be conflicting, yet equally valid, ways of arriving at justified beliefs about the world. For her part, Georgina Stewart draws out the similarities between Ganeri’s understanding of comparative philosophy and the ethical stance involved in studying Maori science. In his Reply, Ganeri fleshes out his understanding of a pluralistic realism. Only an epistemic culture, which is open to a plurality of epistemic stances, he contends, can propel polycentric modes of knowledge production. (shrink)
Thoroughgoing relativists typically dismiss the realist conviction that competing theories describe just one definite and mind-independent world-structure on the grounds that such theories fail to be relatively translatable even though they are equally correct. This line of argument allegedly brings relativism into direct conflict with the metaphysics of realism. I argue that this relativist line of reasoning is shaky by deriving a theorem about relativistic inquiry in formal epistemology—more specifically, in the approach Kevin Kelly has dubbed “logic of reliable inquiry”. (...) According to the theorem, two scientists, who share some background knowledge but follow different appropriately reliable methods, will converge to relatively formally translatable competing theories, even if meaning, truth, logic and evidence are allowed to vary in time depending on each scientist’s conjectures, actions, or conceptual choices. Some final remarks on the relevance of the theorem to the incommensurability thesis that has vexed twentieth century philosophy of science are adduced. (shrink)
Beginning with a historical overview of relativism, from Pythagoras in ancient Greece to Derrida and postmodernism, Maria Baghramian explores the resurgence of relativism throughout the history of philosophy. She then turns to the arguments for and against the many subdivisions of relativism, including Kuhn and Feyerabend's ideas of relativism in science, Rorty's relativism about truth, and the conceptual relativism of Quine and Putnam. Baghramian questions whether moral relativism leads to moral indifference or even nihilism, and whether feminist epistemology's concerns about (...) the very notion of objectivity can be considered a form of relativism. She concludes the relativism debate by assessing the recent criticisms such as Quine's argument from translation and Davidson's claim that even the motivations behind relativism are unintelligible. Finding these criticisms lacking, Baghramian proposes a moderate form of pluralism which addresses the legitimate worries that give rise to relativism without incurring charges of nihilism or anarchy. (shrink)
According to the philosophical tradition, translation is successful when one has substituted words and sentences from one language with those from another by cross-linguistic synonymy. Moreover, according to the orthodox view, the meaning of expressions and sentences of languages are determined by their basic or systematic role in a language. This makes translating normative and evaluative discourse puzzling for two reasons. First, as languages are syntactically and semantically different because of their peculiar cultural and historical influences, and as values and (...) norms differ across cultures, it is unlikely that languages will have synonymous evaluative and normative expressions. If translation is only successful by cross-linguistic synonymy, it would seem that we will not be able to translate the value theoretic claims of persons from radically different cultures. But it is with such persons that dialogue on evaluative matters is imperative, to resolve ethical and axiological differences that could be the root of conflict. Second, as the orthodox account of meaning renders it linguistically relative, it is unlikely that expressions across languages will be cross-linguistically synonymous. Thus, on the Orthodox account of translation, translation is indeterminate (as W.V.O. Quine has argued) or impossible (as Jacques Derrida has argued). In this dissertation I argue for a novel theory of meaning and translation based on innovations in the translation studies literature and my prior work in cross cultural research, which I call Text-Type Semantics or TTS. TTS explains how translation is successful while affirming radical cultural and linguistic diversity. It treats disciplinary concerns as the neutral criteria to calibrate translation. On the basis of TTS I argue that we need what I call the “Quasi-Indexical” account of thick and thin concepts (or QI) to translate normative and evaluative discourse. I argue that QI and TTS succeed where competing accounts in the moral semantics literature (such as Non-Analytic Naturalism and Expressivism) fail. The argument also shows that the relativization of truth (in philosophy and beyond) to languages and cultures is mistaken. (shrink)
RÉSUMÉL’un des arguments communément avancé en faveur du relativisme repose sur l’apparente possibilité que des jugements non erronés puissent être divergents. Je cherche à montrer qu’une telle observation n’est possible qu’à des conditions qui la rendent inadmissible à titre de preuve: l’acceptation d’une grossière ignorance, de l’irrationalité, ou encore un attachement préalable à une forme peu plausible de relativisme particulièrement extrême.
A dish may be delicious, a painting beautiful, a piece of information justified. Whether the attributed properties "really" hold, seems to depend on somebody like a speaker or a group of people that share standards and background. Relativists and contextualists differ in where they locate the dependency theoretically. This book collects papers that corroborate the contextualist view that the dependency is part of the language.
This article raises the question of whether or not a "neutral" stance can be found from which to engage in philosophical counseling. By drawing on the debate between absolutism and relativism, it is argued that no such neutral ground exists. The foundational premises of the transcendentalist tradition involve different assumptions than those of the materialist and relativist traditions. Such a distinction goes back to the earliest days of philosophy and today the new profession of philosophical counseling must address the multiplicity (...) of assumptions upon which philosophic discourse can be built. The paper concludes with a call for philosophical counseling to move beyond the focus on Socrates, and to embrace a wide variety of different positions within its domain. (shrink)
Masters attacks the following theses: Science is ahistorical. Scientific knowledge is value-free. The proper model of science is linear regularities. Behavior should be explained on a nature versus nurture dichotomy. The proper goal of science is the conquest of nature.
It is impossible to summarize this book at all adequately in a review; the book itself is a summary of various relativist/anti-relativist arguments. Any attempt to condense these still further can only yield something too coarse and shallow to be useful. Instead, I shall set out as briefly as I can how the authors conceive the debate between relativists and their opponents. Their programmatic conception foreshadows the remainder of the book.
This author provides a great service to modern and postmodern philosophers of science who are held at somewhat of a distance by the writing styles of their counterparts. Against Relativism surveys a huge corpus of important texts from both camps, showing many places where they converge and diverge. The most surprising theme of the work is that leading figures of postmodern thought, such as Der and de Man, are neither committed to, nor support, any variant of the relativist, anti-realist, or (...) social-constructivist interpretations of science. Norris also holds that progeny of modern thought, such as Wittgenstein and Quine, who embrace such “relativist” interpretations, are mistaken. (shrink)
The "historicity" of ideas can be reconciled with their rationality without recourse to relativism if we adopt the following view: The intellectual standards of a scientist are to be found in his intellectual situation, which is a debate underlying problems which discriminate between rival views. There is therefore no circularity between the currently accepted views and the currently accepted standards of judging a theory. debate).