Epistemic Relativism. A Constructive Critique

Palgrave-Macmillan (2014)

Authors
Markus Seidel
University of Münster
Abstract
Are our beliefs justified only relatively to a specific culture or society? Is it possible to give reasons for the superiority of our scientific, epistemic methods? Markus Seidel sets out to answer these questions in his critique of epistemic relativism. Focusing on the work of the most prominent, explicitly relativist position in the sociology of scientific knowledge – so-called 'Edinburgh relativism' or the 'Strong Programme' –, he scrutinizes the key arguments for epistemic relativism from a philosophical perspective: underdetermination and norm-circularity. His main negative result is that these arguments fall short of establishing epistemic relativism. -/- Despite arguing for epistemic absolutism, Seidel aims to provide an account of non-relative justification that nevertheless integrates the basic, correct intuition of the epistemic relativist. His main positive result is that the epistemic absolutist can very well accept the idea that people using different standards of justification can be equally justified in holding their beliefs: Rational disagreement, he maintains, is perfectly possible. -/- The book provides a detailed critique of relativism in the sociology of scientific knowledge and beyond. With its constructive part it aims at making conciliatory steps in a highly embittered discussion between sociology and philosophy of science.
Keywords epistemic relativism  underdetermination  sociology of scientific knowledge
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ISBN(s) 9781137377906   1137377909
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Epistemic Relativism, Scepticism, Pluralism.Martin Kusch - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):4687-4703.
De-Idealizing Disagreement, Rethinking Relativism.Katherina Kinzel & Martin Kusch - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (1):40-71.
Pluralism About Knowledge.Robin McKenna - 2017 - In Annalisa Coliva & Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen (eds.), Epistemic Pluralism. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 171-198.
Meta-Epistemic Defeat.J. Carter - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2877-2896.

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