1st Edition

Towards a Philosophical Anthropology of Culture Naturalism, Relativism, and Skepticism

By Kevin M. Cahill Copyright 2021
    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores the question of what it means to be a human being through sustained and original analyses of three important philosophical topics: relativism, skepticism, and naturalism in the social sciences.

    Kevin M. Cahill’s approach involves an original employment of historical and ethnographic material that is both conceptual and empirical in order to address relevant philosophical issues. Specifically, while Cahill avoids interpretative debates, he develops an approach to philosophical critique based on Cora Diamond’s and James Conant’s work on the early Wittgenstein. This makes possible the use of a concept of culture that avoids the dogmatism that not only typifies traditional metaphysics but also frequently mars arguments from ordinary language or phenomenology. This is especially crucial for the third part of the book, which involves a cultural-historical critique of the ontology of the self in Stanley Cavell’s work on skepticism. In pursuing this strategy, the book also mounts a novel and timely defense of the interpretivist tradition in the philosophy of the social sciences.

    Towards a Philosophical Anthropology of Culture will be of interest to researchers working on the philosophy of the social sciences, Wittgenstein, and philosophical anthropology.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780367638238, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

    Introduction 1

    1 Lost in the Ancient City: Pluralist Naturalism and

    the Philosophy of the Social Sciences 13

    2 The Grammar of Conflict 53

    3 Skepticism and the Human Condition 73


    Kevin M. Cahill is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bergen, Norway. He works mainly on Wittgenstein’s philosophy and the philosophy of the social sciences. His publications include The Fate of Wonder: Wittgenstein’s Critique of Metaphysics and Modernity (2011) and Wittgenstein and Naturalism (Routledge, 2018).

    "Anyone interested in the relationship between naturalism and relativism in the philosophy of social science or the philosophy of culture should read this insightful and original book."David G. Stern, University of Iowa