Michael Wolf
Washington and Jefferson College
During the latter half of the twentieth century, many philosophers in Europe and America turned towards social pragmatist and holistic accounts of concepts and theories. In this paper, I make the case that many forms of relativism—moral and otherwise—that emerge from this turn are misguided. While we must always operate from some framework of practices in which things may serve as reasons for us, most forms of relativism in recent decades have more boldly granted us immunity from external rational scrutiny. I argue that this strong form of relativism is possible only with sharp divisions between communities of speakers that I call “strict boundaries” and that these are implausible. We are left with the possibility of social pragmatist theories that do not entail strong relativism.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI jpr2012379
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