Recent years have seen a vigorous revival of interest in relativism - both in support and in opposition. This collection of 21 essays, 16 of which appear in print here for the first time, advances the discussion found in an earlier volume, Relativism: Cognitive and Moral. These present selections focus on philosophical and methodological issues of relativism by exhibiting its varieties and by rehearsing its virtues and vices. The contributions concern relativism in a wide range of practices in the human (...) studies. (shrink)
The thirty-three essays in <I>Relativism: A Contemporary Anthology</I> grapple with one of the most intriguing, enduring, and far-reaching philosophical problems of our age. Relativism comes in many varieties. It is often defined as the belief that truth, goodness, or beauty is relative to some context or reference frame, and that no absolute standards can adjudicate between competing reference frames. Michael Krausz's anthology captures the significance and range of relativistic doctrines, rehearsing their virtues and vices and reflecting on a spectrum of (...) attitudes. Invoking diverse philosophical orientations, these doctrines concern conceptions of relativism in relation to facts and conceptual schemes, realism and objectivity, universalism and foundationalism, solidarity and rationality, pluralism and moral relativism, and feminism and poststructuralism. Featuring nine original essays, the volume also includes many classic articles, making it a standard resource for students, scholars, and researchers. <B>Table of Contents:</B> Foreword by Alan Ryan Preface Introduction Michael Krausz <B>Part I. Orienting Relativism</B> 1. Mapping Relativisms Michael Krausz 2. A Brief History of Relativism Maria Baghramian <B>Part II. Relativism, Truth, and Knowledge</B> 3. Subjective, Objective, and Conceptual Relativisms Maurice Mandelbaum 4. “Just the Facts, Ma’am!” Nelson Goodman 5. Relativism in Philosophy of Science Nancy Cartwright 6. The Truth About Relativism Joseph Margolis 7. Making Sense of Relative Truth John MacFarlane 8. On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme Donald Davidson 9. Truth and Convention: On Davidson’s Refutation of Conceptual Relativism Hilary Putnam 10. Conceptual Schemes Simon Blackburn 11. Relativizing the Facts Paul A. Boghossian 12. Targets of Anti-Relativist Arguments Harvey Siegel 13. Realism and Relativism Akeel Bilgrami <B>Part III. Moral Relativism, Objectivity, and Reasons</B> 14. Moral Relativism Defended Gilbert Harman 15. The Truth in Relativism Bernard Williams 16. Pluralism and Ambivalence David B. Wong 17. The Relativity of Fact and the Objectivity of Value Catherine Z. Elgin 18. Senses of Moral Relativity David Wiggins 19. Ethical Relativism and the Problem of Incoherence David Lyons 20. Understanding Alien Morals Gopal Sreenivasan 21. Value: Realism and Objectivity Thomas Nagel 22. Intuitionism, Realism, Relativism, and Rhubarb Crispin Wright 23. Moral Relativism and Moral Realism Russ Schafer-Landau <B>Part IV. Relativism, Culture, and Understanding</B> 24. Anti Anti-Relativism Clifford Geertz 25. Solidarity or Objectivity? Richard Rorty 26. Relativism, Power, and Philosophy Alasdair MacIntyre 27. Internal Criticism and Indian Rationalist Traditions Martha C. Nussbaum and Amartya Sen 28. Phenomenological Rationality and the Overcoming of Relativism Jitendra N. Mohanty 29. Understanding and Ethnocentricity Charles Taylor 30. Relativism and Cross-Cultural Understanding Kwame Anthony Appiah 31. Relativism, Persons, and Practices Amélie Oksenberg Rorty 32. One What? Relativism and Poststructuralism David Couzens Hoy 33. Must a Feminist Be a Relativist After All? Lorraine Code List of Contributors Index. (shrink)
Seventeen philosophical thinkers ask: What is creativity? What are the criteria of creativity? Should we assign logical priority to creative persons, processes, or products? How do various forms of creativity relate to different domains of human activity?
Is there a single right interpretation for such cultural phenomena as works of literature, visual artworks, works of music, the self, and legal and sacred texts? In these essays, almost all written especially for this volume, twenty leading philosophers pursue different answers to this question by examining the nature of interpretation and its objects and ideals. The fundamental conflict between positions that universally require the ideal of a single admissible interpretation and those that allow a multiplicity of some admissible interpretations (...) leads to a host of engrossing questions explored in these essays: Does multiplism invite interpretive anarchy? Can opposing interpretations be jointly defended? Should competition between contending interpretations be understood in terms of truth or reasonableness, appropriateness, aptness, or the like? Is interpretation itself an essentially contested concept? Does interpretive activity seek truth or aim at something else as well? Should one focus on interpretive acts rather than interpretations? Should admissible interpretations be fixed by locating intentions of a historical or hypothetical creator, or neither? What bearing does the fact of the historical situatedness of cultural entities have on their identities? The contributors are Annette Barnes, Noël Carroll, Stephen Davies, Susan Feagin, Alan Goldman, Charles Guignon, Chhanda Gupta, Garry Hagberg, Michael Krausz, Peter Lamarque, Jerrold Levinson, Joseph Margolis, Rex Martin, Jitendra Mohanty, David Novitz, Philip Percival, Torsten Pettersson, Robert Stecker, Laurent Stern, and Paul Thom. (shrink)
This volume looks at the symbiotic relationship between the philosophical inquiry into the presuppositions of musical interpretation and the interpretation of particular musical works by musicians. Characteristically, interpreters of music entertain philosophical views about musical interpretation. For example, an interpreter's decision whether to play one or another version of a piece, whether to use one instrument or another, whether to emphasize certain elements, depends in part upon certain convictions of a philosophical nature. An interpreter's resolution of such questions will involve (...) views about what a musical work is--for example, whether it is fully embodied in a score, how strictly all markings should be respected, what pertinence historical research has for interpretations, and how decisive the known or reconstructed intentions of a composer may be. These nineteen previously unpublished essays address a cluster of interrelated questions about the definition, grounds, and nature of musical interpretation. The contributors investigate the aesthetic, cultural, and historical aspects of interpretation as well as fundamental distinctions such as those between a work and its interpretation, musical and non-musical phenomena, and musical meaning and linguistic meaning. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Abstract Definition General Contrasts between Relativism and Absolutism Reference Frames Domains Levels Values Absolutist Strands a Relativist Might Negate On the Putative Self ‐ Contradiction of Relativism Reach of Reasons Conclusion Bibliography.
This book presents a fictional dialogue among four former college friends about Oneness and self-realization. News of the sudden death of a relative occasions their discussion. One friend, a devotee of the Advaita or non-duality school of Hindu philosophy, seeks to short-circuit the pain and suffering characteristically associated with anxieties about human mortality. According to her, to be is to be the ultimate ineffable undifferentiated Being, the birthless and the deathless—the One. The other friends, whose philosophical attitudes are broadly pragmatist, (...) relativist, and realist, inquire into her views. While the pragmatist looks to the advaitist for guidance about meditative practices, she does not renounce human existence. She welcomes the joys and satisfactions as well as the burdens and pains of human existence. In turn, the relativist is skeptical about theories that aim to reach beyond one’s historical, cultural or personal frame of reference. On his view, to be is to be in relationship, especially with other human beings. Finally, the realist seeks objective, frame-independent truth. In addition, he holds that the world is comprised of individual objects and their properties. Accordingly, he finds the idea of Oneness to be incomprehensible.“In this probing dialogue, Michael Krausz does what rarely is done. He brings Hindu and analytic philosophy into conversation with each other. Moreover, he does this in a way that clarifies contrasting views about the reality of the self and the nature of the world. Oneness and the Displacement of Self sheds welcome new light on a topic of enduring interest.”― Mary Wiseman, The Graduate Center, City University of New York. (shrink)
What is truth, goodness, or beauty? Can we really define these concepts without the idea of a frame of reference? In the newest addition to the New Dialogues in Philosophy series, Michael Krausz presents fictional dialogues between four former classmates who hold significantly different views about these questions. As they travel in India, a place with unfamiliar concepts and customs, these four friends debate the rightness of relativism and absolutism. Are these concepts irreconcilable? Might there be a better view that (...) goes beyond both of them? These lively discussions provide students with an accessible introduction to one of the most enduring and far-reaching philosophical problems of our age. (shrink)
This article arises from selected issues on interpretation raised in a session entitled ‘Danto on Margolis/margolis on Danto’ at the Eastern Division meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics, April 25, 1989, at the University of Arts, Philadelphia. In Part I, principally for dialectical purposes, I recapitulate some of Arthur Danto’s and Joseph Margolis’s points in an attempt to idealize two opposing views: constructionist and realist. It should be said at the outset that the constructionist and realist positions need not (...) be opposed, as Margolis ramifies the matter in his extensive writings. Also, as Danto expounds in numerous places, his theory of art is anti-realist. Nevertheless, as regards the practice of art history and art criticism he is realist—at least as represented in the present exchange. So the idealizations of constructionism and realism here presented should be understood to range over designated concerns and should not be read as idealizations of these authors’ more developed positions as presented elsewhere. In Part II, I adjust the initial characterizations, offer some criticisms of each of these positions, and indicate some points at which there might be some promise for reconciliation between them. In Part III, I shall make some strategic suggestions to advance the discussion. (shrink)
By way of dialogues, Michael Krausz offers philosophical reflections about his life as a philosopher, artist, and musician. After providing biographical accounts of his years of experience in these areas, he rehearses his views about relativism, interpretation, creativity, and self-realization.
Two views about the objects of history have traditionally been opposed: the realist, which holds that history is about past actuality: and the constructionist, which holds that history cannot be about a past actuality but rather it is about what survives the materials and procedures of historical research. I shall suggest that both of these views may well agree that, as regards the practice of historical inquiry, an historian is constrained by what survives the materials and procedures of historical research. (...) And this agreement provides the basis for raising questions about the very distinction between the epistemology and the ontology of history. (shrink)
In this book, Michael Krausz addresses the concept of interpretation in the visual arts, the emotions, and the self. He examines competing ideals of interpretation, their ontological entanglements, reference frames, and the relation between elucidation and self-transformation. The series Interpretation and Translation explores philosophical issues of interpretation and its cultural objects. It also addresses commensuration and understanding among languages, conceptual schemes, symbol systems, reference frames, and the like. The series publishes theoretical works drawn from philosophy, rhetoric, linguistics, anthropology, religious studies, (...) art history, and musicology. (shrink)
I am honored to have this special issue devoted to themes in my philosophical work. This testimony is especially meaningful to me since I have benefitted so much from numerous meetings of the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World. I extend thanks to Joe Jones who proposed the idea to the editorial board, and to Jim Sauer who, as editor, saw it through to its publication. Grateful thanks go to Michael McKenna who, as guest editor, brought the collection together. (...) As well, over the years, McKenna has been for me the best kind of critical yet supportive interlocutor. At an earlier stage Andreea Ritivoi's initiative and encouragement was invaluable. Of course, I extend special thanks to the ten contributors from the United States, England, Germany, and India. To them I offer my replies in the spirit of an on-going discussion about the philosophy of interpretation. (shrink)
This paper suggests certain differences between the interpretation of Indian classical music and the interpretation of Western classical music. In Indian music the work is constituted in the moment of a recital. The performer is the maker of the music. Accordingly, the performer simultaneously produces a work and interprets it. Further, in the Indian tradition. music is a path of “bhakti yoga,” or a path of devotion.
Various issues are characteristically associated with discussions about relativism. The first concerns defining relativism—which is not an easy matter, since there seems to be no clear and well established usage to which one might appeal. Some stipulation is required, though this need not be arbitrary. One may proceed by distinguishing relativism from its putative contrast: absolutism, although defining this latter notion is as difficult as defining the former. Absolutism, however, at least, holds that the truth or the truth value of (...) a proposition is not tied to the contingent conditions of the assertion of truth or truth value. Relativism denies this, holding that some truths or truth values are tied to such contingent conditions. What the nature of this “tie” is, and for what sorts of cases it might obtain, depends upon more precise formulations. Still, relativism is a theory of logic rather than epistemology, though in particular discussions a clear-cut distinction is not easily drawn. Nelson Goodman, for example, claims to be a “radical relativist with restraints,” and his arguments derive from an unwillingness to carry the dispensable burden of a non-nominalist epistemology. Since no “world” independent of our symbol systems is accessible, it cannot function in our cognitive judgements. So, “truth,” for Goodman, turns out to be a feature of the internal relations within symbol systems, a feature explicable after the epistemic limits have been drawn. But one could argue that the burden of carrying a “heavier” epistemology might be worth the effort—not by insisting that an inquiry-independent world is, after all, accessible, but rather along different lines that concern regulative or pretensial considerations. For example, in answer to the general question, “What does the sort of inquiry I am engaged in pretend to do?”, a scientific realist might say, “I, as a scientist, pretend to explain the ‘external’ world.” Questions of pretense arise for all cultural practices, such as art, religion, science, history, philosophy, and so on, as well as for any accounting of them. So, in discussions of relativism we need to be mindful of these distinguishable areas of concern: the logical, the epistemological, and the pretensial. The main thrust of the present treatment concerns the first two, and it asks, What is the status of the logical thesis of relativism and its negate, and how does that relate to the epistemological thesis of foundationalism and its negate? (shrink)