Paul Boghossian, in his long-awaited first book, sweeps away relativist claims that there is no such thing as objective truth or knowledge, but only truth or knowledge from a particular perspective.
Author: Paul Boghossian
Publisher: Clarendon Press
The academic world has been plagued in recent years by scepticism about truth and knowledge. Paul Boghossian, in his long-awaited first book, sweeps away relativist claims that there is no such thing as objective truth or knowledge, but only truth or knowledge from a particular perspective. He demonstrates clearly that such claims don't even make sense. Boghossian focuses on three different ways of reading the claim that knowledge is socially constructed - one as a thesis about truth and two about justification. And he rejects all three. The intuitive, common-sense view is that there is a way things are that is independent of human opinion, and that we are capable of arriving at belief about how things are that is objectively reasonable, binding on anyone capable of appreciating the relevant evidence regardless of their social or cultural perspective. Difficult as these notions may be, it is a mistake to think that recent philosophy has uncovered powerful reasons for rejecting them. This short, lucid, witty book shows that philosophy provides rock-solid support for common sense against the relativists; it will prove provocative reading throughout the discipline and beyond.
This book offers a vigorous and constructive challenge to relativism by examining a wide range of anti-realist theories, and in response offering a variety of arguments amounting to a strong defence of critical realism in the natural and ...
Author: Christopher Norris
This book offers a vigorous and constructive challenge to relativism by examining a wide range of anti-realist theories, and in response offering a variety of arguments amounting to a strong defence of critical realism in the natural and social sciences.
He turns the techniques of relativism against relativism itself, showing that it is ultimately self-refuting or otherwise ineffectual.
Author: James Franklin Harris
Publisher: Open Court Publishing
In this detailed critique, Professor Harris has selected the strongest and most plausible arguments for relativism within contemporary academic philosophy. He turns the techniques of relativism against relativism itself, showing that it is ultimately self-refuting or otherwise ineffectual. He demonstrates that Quine's rejection of the analytic-synthetic distinction appeals to the very analytic truths Quine tries to dispel; that Kuhn's celebrated account of paradigms must be either self-refuting or unintelligible; that Rorty cannot avoid presuppposing the epistemological principles he attacks; and that (although feminist criticisms of science exert a welcome corrective) attempts to develop a distinctively 'feminist science' are misconceived and unhelpful to feminism
This book analyzes the debate surrounding cultural diversity and its implications for ethics.
Author: Ruth Macklin
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
This book analyzes the debate surrounding cultural diversity and its implications for ethics. If ethics are relative to particular cultures or societies, then it is not possible to hold that there are any fundamental human rights. The author examines the role of cultural tradition, often used as a defense against critical ethical judgments, and explores key issues in health and medicine in the context of cultural diversity: the physician-patient relationship, disclosing a diagnosis of a fatal illness, informed consent, brain death and organ transplantation, rituals surrounding birth and death, female genital mutilation, sex selection of offspring, fertility regulation, and biomedical research involving human subjects. Among the conclusions the author reaches are that ethical universals exist but must not be confused with ethical absolutes. The existence of ethical universals is compatible with a variety of culturally relative interpretations, and some rights related to medicine and health care should be considered human rights. Illustrative examples are drawn from the author's experiences serving on international ethical review committees and her travels to countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where she conducted educational workshops and carried out her own research.
In this book Nenad Miščević defends naturalistic rationalism against these recent relativist attacks.
Author: Nenad Miscevic
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Cognitive science has posed some radical challenges to philosophy in recent years, particularly in the study of the cognitive activities and capacities of individuals. Many philosophers have taken up the challenge, and one result has been the emergence of a radical new wave of relativism, one that assaults the credibility of rationalist views. In this book Nenad Mis̆c̆ević defends naturalistic rationalism against these recent relativist attacks. The book begins with an excellent introduction to cognitive science, and goes on to create a searching defence of human rationality and of a traditional role for truth in epistemology. Mis̆c̆ević presents a critical scrutiny of the relativism championed by Stephen Stich and Paul Churchland and their followers, showing that it not only exaggerates the subversive impact of science, but relies on its links with naturalism for much of its crediblity. His careful dissection of relativist arguments establishes the main outlines of a positive rationalistic picture that is both original and convincing.
In his typical unique writing style, Peter Kreeft lets an attractive, honest, and funny relativist interview a "Muslim fundamentalist" absolutist so as not to stack the dice personally for absolutism.
Author: Peter Kreeft
Publisher: Ignatius Press
No issue is more fateful for civilization than moral relativism. History knows not one example of a successful society which repudiated moral absolutes. Yet most attacks on relativism have been either pragmatic (looking at its social consequences) or exhorting (preaching rather than proving), and philosophers' arguments against it have been specialized, technical, and scholarly. In his typical unique writing style, Peter Kreeft lets an attractive, honest, and funny relativist interview a "Muslim fundamentalist" absolutist so as not to stack the dice personally for absolutism. In an engaging series of personal interviews, every conceivable argument the "sassy Black feminist" reporter Libby gives against absolutism is simply and clearly refuted, and none of the many arguments for moral absolutism is refuted.
What was it that gave that ancient foursome, Daniel and his three friends, the strength and conviction to be prepared, often at great risk, to swim against the flow?
Author: John C Lennox
Publisher: Monarch Books
Daniel's story is one of extraordinary faith in God lived out at the pinnacle of executive power. It tells of four teenage friends, born in the tiny state of Judah about twenty-six centuries ago, but captured by Nebuchadnezzar, emperor of Babylon. Daniel describes how they eventually rose to the top echelons of administration. Daniel and his friends did not simply maintain their private devotion to God; they maintained a high-profile witness in a pluralistic society antagonistic to their faith. That is why their story has such a powerful message for us. Society tolerates the practice of Christianity in private and in church services, but it increasingly deprecates public witness. If Daniel and his compatriots were with us today they would be in the vanguard of the public debate. What was it that gave that ancient foursome, Daniel and his three friends, the strength and conviction to be prepared, often at great risk, to swim against the flow?
One result has been the emergence of a radical new wave of relativism. In this book, Miscevic defends naturalistic rationalism against these relativist attacks.
Author: Nenad Miščević
Cognitive science has posed some radical challenges to philosophy in recent years, particularly in the study of the cognitive activities and capacities of individuals. One result has been the emergence of a radical new wave of relativism. In this book, Miscevic defends naturalistic rationalism against these relativist attacks.
Baghramian questions whether moral relativism leads to moral indifference or even nihilism, and whether feminist epistemology's concerns about the very notion of objectivity can be considered a form of relativism.
Author: Maria Baghramian
'It's all relative'. In a world of increasing cultural diversity, it can seem that everything is indeed relative. But should we concede that there is no such thing as right and wrong, and no objective truth? Can we reconcile relativism and pluralism? Relativism surveys the different varieties of relativism and the arguments for and against them, and examines why relativism has survived for two thousand years despite all the criticisms levelled against it. Beginning with a historical overview of relativism, from Pythagoras in ancient Greece to Derrida and postmodernism, Maria Baghramian explores the resurgence of relativism throughout the history of philosophy. She then turns to the arguments for and against the many subdivisions of relativism, including Kuhn and Feyerabend's ideas of relativism in science, Rorty's relativism about truth, and the conceptual relativism of Quine and Putnam. Baghramian questions whether moral relativism leads to moral indifference or even nihilism, and whether feminist epistemology's concerns about the very notion of objectivity can be considered a form of relativism. She concludes the relativism debate by assessing the recent criticisms such as Quine's argument from translation and Davidson's claim that even the motivations behind relativism are unintelligible. Finding these criticisms lacking, Baghramian proposes a moderate form of pluralism which addresses the legitimate worries that give rise to relativism without incurring charges of nihilism or anarchy. Relativism is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary philosophy, sociology and politics.
This volume confronts the distortions of orientalism, ethnocentrism, and romantic nostalgia to expose exoticism, defined as the construction of false and unsubstantiated difference.
Author: Bruce Kapferer
Publisher: Berghahn Books
Category: Social Science
Anthropology begins in the encounter with the ‘exotic’: what stands outside of—and challenges—conventional or established understandings. This volume confronts the distortions of orientalism, ethnocentrism, and romantic nostalgia to expose exoticism, defined as the construction of false and unsubstantiated difference. Its aim is to re-found the importance of the exotic in the development of anthropological knowledge and to overcome methodological dualisms and dualistic approaches. Chapters look at the risk of exoticism in the perspectivist approach, the significant exotic corrective of Lévi-Strauss vis-à-vis an imperializing Eurocentrism, our nostalgic relationship with the ethnographic record, and the attempts of local communities to readapt previous exoticized referents, renegotiate their identity, and ‘counter-exoticize.’ This volume demonstrates a range of approaches that will be valuable for researchers and students seeking to effectively establish comparative methodological frameworks that transcend issues of relativism and universalism.
This book tackles the difficult task of defending relativism in the age of science.
Author: Alyssa Luboff
It is especially difficult to make a strong case for relativism in the age of science. Facing Relativism succeeds where others have failed by combining the rigor of analytic philosophy with the first-hand insights of anthropological experience. Typically, an anthropologist’s work on relativism offers rich examples of cultural diversity, but lacks philosophical rigor, while a philosopher’s work on relativism offers rigorous argumentation, but lacks rich anthropological examples. This book, written by a North American philosopher who lived in the Ecuadorian rainforest, does both. Relativism at a global scale is a view that our claims about the world, both theoretical and practical, are evaluable only relative to a context shaped by factors such as culture, history, language, and environment – or, “a way of life.” It can be at once intuitive and disturbing. While we might expect a way of life to exert some influence on our claims, relativism seems to move to the overly strong conclusion that all of our claims about what is true or good must merely be expressions of cultural bias. It easily opens itself to charges of paradox or self-contradiction. If all truths are relative, on what grounds is relativism itself true? Relativism also seems to force us to be tolerant of practices and beliefs that we hold to be clearly immoral or mistaken. Perhaps most blaringly, relativism seems to ignore the success and widespread adoption of Western science and practices. This book argues that such problems arise largely from a failure to situate relativism within the context that has, throughout its long history, been its inspiration: the experience – whether through literature, the imagination, or direct anthropological contact – of deeply engaging with a very different way of life. By starting with a careful analysis of the experience of deep engagement, Facing Relativism shows that a relativist line of thought is neither as incoherent nor as alarming as we tend to think. In fact, it might just offer the tools we need to face these times of global crisis and change.
Essay from the year 2014 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Topic: Public International Law and Human Rights, grade: 62 (Merit) UK System, University College London (School of Public Policy), language: English, abstract: In ...
Author: Anna Scheithauer
Publisher: GRIN Verlag
Essay from the year 2014 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Topic: Public International Law and Human Rights, grade: 62 (Merit) UK System, University College London (School of Public Policy), language: English, abstract: In this essay, I have focused on the very content of human rights, thereby, relating to the debate between universalist and cultural relativist theory. While the former promotes the idea of equal rights for all human beings and considers culture irrelevant for the validity of moral rights, the latter views culture as the exclusive source of moral rights (Donelly, 1984, 400) and stresses, that “right” and “wrong” differ from culture to culture. (Tilley, 2000, 501) In the light of this debate, I have argued, that human rights are not merely “Western” constructions, as they withstand, despite their historical and geographical significance, accusations of cultural superiority (Tilley, 2000, 527) and of evaluations of other cultures according to the terms and conditions of “Western” culture (Oxford Dictionaries, 2013), or in short: of “Western” ethnocentrism. I have held this premise as response specifically to the allegation of cultural insensitivity brought forward by cultural relativism, which emphasizes human rights' ignorance towards cultural complexities by prioritizing some values over others, thereby, disregarding the collective spirit of some communities. This is said to render the concept of human rights inapplicable in non-”Western” societies. I have counter-argued that the human rights conception is culturally sensitive, as it recognizes diversity of moral views by promoting freedom of choice and the inclusion of voices otherwise left unheard under the umbrella of collectivism. Thereby, I have shown that universal values can indeed be justified, while cultural relativism fails to provide a sufficient explanation for moral validity. In this respect, I shall challenge the term “culture” and will show that human rights advocate tolerance. They do so through their stress on the preservation of cultural pluralism. Thus, they are not set out to destroy local culture but rather arguments of authority. (Tesón, 1985, 388) From this I have concluded, that the premise set out above holds true. Consequently, human rights by upholding universal moral values and by promoting cultural diversity, despite their geographical and historical distinctiveness, are more than “Western” constructions.
In this book, Steven Hales defends relativism, but in a more circumscribed form that applies specifically to philosophical propositions.
Author: Steven D. Hales
Publisher: MIT Press
A defense of the view that philosophical propositions are true in some perspectives and false in others, arguing that the rationalist, intuition-driven method of acquiring basic beliefs favored by analytic philosophy is not epistemically superior to such alternate belief-acquiring methods as religious revelation and the ritual use of hallucinogens. The grand and sweeping claims of many relativists might seem to amount to the argument that everything is relative—except the thesis of relativism. In this book, Steven Hales defends relativism, but in a more circumscribed form that applies specifically to philosophical propositions. His claim is that philosophical propositions are relatively true—true in some perspectives and false in others. Hales defends this argument first by examining rational intuition as the method by which philosophers come to have the beliefs they do. Analytic rationalism, he claims, has a foundational reliance on rational intuition as a method of acquiring basic beliefs. He then argues that there are other methods that people use to gain beliefs about philosophical topics that are strikingly analogous to rational intuition and examines two of these: Christian revelation and the ritual use of hallucinogens. Hales argues that rational intuition is not epistemically superior to either of these alternative methods. There are only three possible outcomes: we have no philosophical knowledge (skepticism); there are no philosophical propositions (naturalism); or there are knowable philosophical propositions, but our knowledge of them is relative to doxastic perspective. Hales defends relativism against the charge that it is self-refuting and answers a variety of objections to this account of relativism. Finally, he examines the most sweeping objection to relativism: that philosophical propositions are not merely relatively true, because there are no philosophical propositions—all propositions are ultimately empirical, as the naturalists contend. Hales's somewhat disturbing conclusion—that intuition-driven philosophy does produce knowledge, but not absolute knowledge—is sure to inspire debate among philosophers.
How could this be 'right' These are just some of the questions tackled by Neil Levy in an incisive and elegant guide to the philosophy of moral relativism - the idea that concepts of 'rightness' and 'wrongness' vary from culture to culture, ...
Author: Neil Levy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
On September 11 2001, thousands of people died in the attacks on the United States. How could the terrorists justify these acts? A young man kills his sister to protect his family's honour. How could this be 'right' These are just some of the questions tackled by Neil Levy in an incisive and elegant guide to the philosophy of moral relativism - the idea that concepts of 'rightness' and 'wrongness' vary from culture to culture, and that there is no such thing as an absolute moral code. Opening with a comprehensive definition of this controversial theory, the book examines all the arguments for and against moral relativism, from its implications for ethics to the role of human biology and the difficulty of separating cultural values from innate behaviour
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Author: Arthur Still
This collection of essays examines the phenomenon of cognitive psychology. The contributions cover a range of issues from Cartesian and Hegelian frameworks to the work of Gibson and Vygotsky. They include work on the rhetorical-responsive nature of the mind, and an ecological approach.