“Is Relativism Self-Defeating?”


Abstract
Plato seems to have claimed that epistemological relativism is self-defeating in two ways. As reformulated by Siegel: arguments for relativism must be advanced as either relativistically or non-relativistically sound. In either case they are dialectically ineffective for the relativist. Second, relativism is either relativistically or non-relativistically true. Either choice commits the relativist to major concessions to her opponent, or so the story goes. But the relativist can advance her arguments as non-relativistically sound, for the consumption of the non-relativist. Moreover, relativists can claim that relativism is true not only for the relativist, but for her non-relativist opponent as well. Relativism is not self-defeating in either of these ways, for much the same reasons that skepticism is not self-defeating. But we cannot live as relativists, because relativism leads to epistemic paralysis, as the example of prediction shows
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_1995_4
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,206
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Cultural Relativism.John J. Tilley - 2000 - Human Rights Quarterly 22 (2):501–547.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Defence of Cultural Relativism.Seungbae Park - 2011 - Cultura 8 (1):159-170.
Moral Relativism in Context.James Beebe - 2010 - Noûs 44 (4):691-724.
Relativism and Reflexivity.Robert Lockie - 2003 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (3):319 – 339.
Indexical Relativism Versus Genuine Relativism.Max Kölbel - 2004 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (3):297 – 313.
Epistemic Modals, Relativism and Assertion.Andy Egan - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (1):1--22.
The Radical Nature of Margolis' Relativism.B. Richard Beatch - 1996 - Journal of Philosophical Research 21:81-93.
Relativism and Disagreement.John MacFarlane - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):17-31.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2011-12-02

Total views
75 ( #116,543 of 2,285,684 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #158,444 of 2,285,684 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature