Relativism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)

Relativism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)

Language: English

Pages: 120

ISBN: 0826497004

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Relativism is a philosophical topic that has many dimensions and can mean many things. It is the view that one thing owes existence, truth, goodness or beauty to something else and is central to an understanding of any of the four traditional divisions of philosophy: ontology, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics.

Relativism: A Guide for the Perplexed offers a concise introduction to relativism and how it applies to the different parts of the basic, foundational areas of philosophy and, indeed, to every area of human enquiry. Timothy Mosteller provides an overview of the topic across the discipline of philosophy, examining it in detail in its primary forms: ontological relativism, epistemological relativism, moral relativism and aesthetic relativism. The book concludes with a summary of the role of relativism in three other key academic disciplines: science, politics, and religion.

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that there are no moral truths. Third, the argument from tolerance, while based on desirable ideas of political tolerance, does not justify the kind of morally relativistic tolerance that people often have in mind when they argue in this way. Fourth, there is a great deal of moral agreement, even in a pluralistic global village, and this undermines a motive for relativistic beliefs about morality. Last, ethical relativism is simply unliveable, and thus it should be rejected. 57 CHAPTER 5

concept of worldview consists of beliefs about the world. These beliefs are parts of a larger mental ‘map’ that is used by the person who has it to develop an understanding of the nature of reality. (2) These definitions have something important to say about the practical implications of worldviews. A worldview helps one deal with reality, helps one move through the world, and contains directional information about how one should live one’s life. (3) Worldviews can either be true or false. If the

Kuhn’s work, but relativism need not follow as long as neutrality, even if localized, can be had between competing standards of evaluation. As long as philosophers of science do not deny the possibility of neutrality among paradigm (or worldview) choices, relativism need not follow. If neutrality is denied, the view falls suspect to the general self-refuting arguments raised against epistemological relativism in Chapter 2. RELATIVISM AND POLITICS: THE CASE OF ALASDAIR MACINTYRE The ironical

external things’, Putnam states that in his previous work, The Many Faces of Realism (Putnam 1987), he ‘identified it with the rejection of the traditional realist assumptions of 1) a fixed totality of all objects; 2) a fixed totality of all properties; 3) a sharp line between properties we “discover” in the world and properties we “project onto the world”; 4) a fixed relation of “correspondence” in terms of which truth is supposed to be defined. I rejected those assumptions not as false assumptions,

rise of relativism in contemporary culture see Dawson and Stein 2004. This is a commitment both to the natural law (i.e. the objectivity of value) and to essentialist view of human nature. I.e. what is epistemic and what is ethical. This seems to be a clear rejection of feature ii. of MacIntyre’s epistemology. I.e. a commitment to the objectivity of knowledge. See Ratzinger 1996 (an address to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Guadalajara, Mexico). Eleanor Stump has argued that

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