This book is a study of relativism as a dominant intellectual preoccupation of our time. Relativism asks how we are to find a way out of intractable differences of perspectives and disagreements in various domains. Standards of truth, rationality, and ethical right and wrong vary greatly and there are no universal criteria for adjudicating between them. In considering this problem, relativism suggests that what is true or right can only be determined within variable contexts of assessment.
This book brings together articles published in the International Journal of Philosophical Studies over a period of 17 years, as well as in a Special Issue of the journal published in 2004. The chapters in Section I discuss some of the main forms of relativism. Section II sheds light on the different motivations for relativism, assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Section III provides a detailed examination of the vexed question of whether Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his later work, supported relativism. The varied responses to this important question shed light on the issues discussed in Sections I and II. This collection is a lively and engaging resource for scholars interested in the crucial impact relativism has had on the way we think about the meaning of truth, and what is right and wrong.
The chapters in this book were originally published in the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction Maria Baghramian Section 1: The Many Kinds of Relativism 1. Relativism, Standards and Aesthetic Judgements James O. Young 2. Relativism and our warrant for scientific theories Paul Faulkner 3. Indexical Relativism versus Genuine Relativism Max Kölbel 4. The Many Relativisms and the Question of Disagreement Dan López de Sa 5. How to Spell Out Genuine Relativism and How to Defend Indexical Relativism Max Kölbel Section II: Motivating Relativism 6. Cross-cultural Understanding: its Philosophical and Anthropological Problems Christoph Jamme 7. Intuition, Revelation, and Relativism Steven D. Hales 8. The Untruth in Relativism Christopher A. Dustin 9. Relativism and Reflexivity Robert Lockie 10. Iterated Non‐Refutation: Robert Lockie on Relativism Anders Tolland 11. Response to Anders Tolland's ‘Iterated Non‐Refutation: Robert Lockie on Relativism’ Robert Lockie Section III: Wittgenstein’s Relativism 12. Relativism and the Abolition of the Other Simon Blackburn 13. Wittgenstein and Relativism Paul O’Grady 14. Religion, Relativism, and Wittgenstein’s Naturalism Bob Plant 15. On Epistemic and Moral Certainty: A Wittgensteinian Approach Michael Kober 16. Filling Out the Picture: Wittgenstein on Differences and Alternatives Tracy Bowell
Maria Baghramian is a Professor of Philosophy and currently Head of School of Philosophy at University College Dublin, Ireland. She is also the co-director of the Cognitive Science Programme in UCD, the Chief Editor of the International Journal of Philosophical Studies and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Her publications include Relativism (2004), Reading Putnam (2012) and Donald Davidson: Life and Words (2012).