Relativism, Context, and Truth

The Monist 67 (3):341-358 (1984)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Recently there has been a revival of philosophic interest in, and discussion of, ‘relativism’. Debates concerning relativism, however, tend to have an odd air of unreality. It is odd that while most everyone wants to refute relativism, just about no one wants to be identified as a relativist. There is even a tendency to use ‘relativist’ as an epithet of abuse. But, if relativism is universally acknowledged to be refuted, even self-refuting, then why is there so much discussion of it, and why is there such a temptation to accuse opponents of this sin? The answer to this question which I wish to propose in this paper is that there are two sources for this situation. First, the fact that while no one sees themselves as relativists, many are seen as relativists suggests that there is a fair amount of current confusion in regard to what precisely ‘relativism’ is. Whenever there is a high degree of disagreement about the extension of a term, especially a term used to describe a philosophical position, it is reasonable to investigate whether there is some equivocation in the use of that term. Such an equivocation by itself, however, would not account for the present state of affairs. That ‘relativism’ is only applied to opponents suggests that there is some similarity between ‘relativist* positions, in at least some senses of that word, and some other positions that people are interested in defending.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,420

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Is Relativism Self-Defeating?Harold Zellner - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:287-295.
Epistemological Relativism: Nature and Problems.B. Richard Beatch - 1994 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo
Is Relativism Self-Defeating?Harold Zellner - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:287-295.
Relativism about Epistemic Modals.Andy Egan - 1997 - In Bob Hale, Crispin Wright & Alexander Miller (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 843–864.
The many relativisms and the question of disagreement.Dan López de Sa - 2007 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (2):269 – 279.
Goodmanian Relativism.Harvey Siegel - 1984 - The Monist 67 (3):359-375.
The Radical Nature of Margolis’ Relativism.B. Richard Beatch - 1996 - Journal of Philosophical Research 21:81-93.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-02-21

Downloads
75 (#217,798)

6 months
17 (#205,072)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.Mark Okrent - 1993 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 36 (4):381 – 404.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references