How to spell out genuine relativism and how to defend indexical relativism

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (2):281 - 288 (2007)
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It was the explicit aim of my paper ‘Indexical Relativism versus Genuine Relativism’ to ‘characterize and compare’ (p. 297) two different forms of relativism. One form, exemplified by Harman’s and Dreier’s moral relativism (Harman, 1975 and Dreier, 1990), involves the claim that certain sentences express different propositions in different contexts of utterance, much like indexical sentences – hence the name ‘indexical relativism’. The other form involves the claim that the truth-value of certain contents or propositions depends on certain non-standard parameters, i.e. depends not just on a possible world. The explicit conclusion of the paper was that the two forms differ significantly. Dan López de Sa (2007) seems quite happy to grant my main conclusion, namely that there is a significant difference between these two forms of relativism. However, López de Sa raises two worthwhile issues. First, he proposes a taxonomy of relativist views, one on which my ‘genuine relativism’ turns out to be the disjunction of two distinct views. Secondly, he offers an answer to a difficulty I raised for some forms of indexical relativism. I shall comment on each point.



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Indexical Relativism versus genuine relativism.Max Kölbel - 2004 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (3):297 – 313.
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Max Kölbel
University of Vienna

Citations of this work

The evidence for relativism.Max Kölbel - 2009 - Synthese 166 (2):375-395.
Indexical contextualism and the challenges from disagreement.Carl Baker - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (1):107-123.
No Deep Disagreement for New Relativists.Ragnar Francén - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (1):19--37.
Relativism 2: Semantic Content.Max Kölbel - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (1):52–67.

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References found in this work

Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Index, context, and content.David K. Lewis - 1980 - In Stig Kanger & Sven Öhman (eds.), Philosophy and Grammar. Reidel. pp. 79-100.
Languages and language.David K. Lewis - 1975 - In Keith Gunderson (ed.), Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 3-35.
Faultless Disagreement.Max Kolbel - 2004 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104 (1):53-73.
Truth Without Objectivity.Max Kölbel - 2002 - London and New York: Routledge.

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