I—The Virtues of Relativism

Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 93 (1):247-269 (2019)
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Abstract

What is it about relativism that justifies, or at least explains, its continued appeal in the face of relentless attacks through the history of philosophy? This paper explores a new answer to this old question, casting the response in metaphilosophical terms. § i introduces the problem. § ii argues that one part of the answer is that some of the well-known defences of relativism take it to be a philosophical stance—that is, a broad perspective or orientation with normative consequences—rather than a doctrine or a thesis. § iii draws attention to an assumption, not always explicitly stated by its proponents, that the relativist stance leads to the cultivation of some key intellectual virtues. Open-mindedness, tolerance, intellectual humility, and curiosity are examples of the intellectual virtues that relativism can foster. § iv argues that the defence of relativism on the basis of the virtues that are assumed to follow from it, at best, is only partially successful. Moreover, there is a range of epistemic vices, resulting from the stance, that undercuts the virtue-based defence presented in § iii.

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Author's Profile

Maria Baghramian
University College Dublin

Citations of this work

Relativism.Maria Baghramian & Adam J. Carter - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Stance Pluralism, Scientology and the Problem of Relativism.Ragnar van der Merwe - forthcoming - Foundations of Science: DOI: 10.1007/s10699-022-09882-w.
II—Relativist Stances, Virtues And Vices.Martin Kusch - 2019 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 93 (1):271-291.
Relativism.Chris Swoyer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Reason, truth, and history.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking.William James - 2019 - Gorham, ME: Timely Classics in Education. Edited by Eric C. Sheffield.

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