Epistemic Relativism

Edited by Markus Seidel (University of Münster)
Assistant editor: Charlott Becker (University of Münster)
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  1. Kuhn, Relativism and Realism.Howard Sankey - 2018 - In Juha Saatsi (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 72-83.
    The aim of this chapter is to explore the relationship between Kuhn’s views about science and scientific realism. I present an overview of key features of Kuhn’s model of scientific change. The model suggests a relativistic approach to the methods of science. I bring out a conflict between this relativistic approach and a realist approach to the norms of method. I next consider the question of progress and truth. Kuhn’s model is a problem-solving model that proceeds by way of puzzles (...)
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Epistemic Relativism, Misc
  1. La crítica posmoderna de la ciencia: una genealogía francesa.Armando Aranda-Anzaldo - 1997 - Ciencia Ergo Sum 4 (2):223-229.
    Postmodern thought has focused itself on the critique of modern epistemology that was founded on a clear distinction between the knowing subject and the object of knowledge. For postmodern thought such a distinction is non-existent or dubious at best. Postmodernism has carried to its logical conclusion the postulates of structuralism; therefore, for postmodern thought there is no general intrinsic meaning in a fact of thing, but there are only particular ways for attributing meaning to such facts and things. Hereunder, we (...)
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  2. Towards a Unified Concept of Reality.Steven James Bartlett - 1975 - ETC: A Review of General Semantics 32 (1):43-49.
    This is a study of the relativity of facts in relation to the frameworks of reference in terms of which those facts are established. In this early paper from 1975, intended for a less technical audience, the author proposes an understanding of facts and their associated frameworks in terms of complementarity. This understanding of facts leads to an integrated yet pluralistic concept of reality. In the Addendum, readers will find a partial listing of related publications by the author that extend (...)
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  3. Quine's Relativism.Lars Bergström - 2006 - Theoria 72 (4):286-298.
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  4. Three Kinds of Relativism.Paul Boghossian - 2011 - In Steven Hales (ed.), A Companion to Relativism. Blackwell.
    The paper looks at three big ideas that have been associated with the term “relativism.” The first maintains that some property has a higher-degree than might have been thought. The second that the judgments in a particular domain of discourse are capable only of relative truth and not of absolute truth And the third, which I dub with the oxymoronic label “absolutist relativism,” seeks to locate relativism in our acceptance of certain sorts of spare absolutist principles. -/- The first idea (...)
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  5. Epistemological Implications of Relativism.J. Adam Carter - 2017 - In Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Contextualism. Routledge.
    Relativists about knowledge ascriptions think that whether a particular use of a knowledge-ascribing sentence, e.g., “Keith knows that the bank is open” is true depends on the epistemic standards at play in the assessor’s context—viz., the context in which the knowledge ascription is being as- sessed for truth or falsity. Given that the very same knowledge-ascription can be assessed for truth or falsity from indefinitely many perspectives, relativism has a striking consequence. When I ascribe knowledge to someone (e.g., when I (...)
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  6. A New Maneuver Against the Epistemic Relativist.J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8).
    Epistemic relativists often appeal to an epistemic incommensurability thesis. One notable example is the position advanced by Wittgenstein in On certainty (1969). However, Ian Hacking’s radical denial of the possibility of objective epistemic reasons for belief poses, we suggest, an even more forceful challenge to mainstream meta-epistemology. Our central objective will be to develop a novel strategy for defusing Hacking’s line of argument. Specifically, we show that the epistemic incommensurability thesis can be resisted even if we grant the very insights (...)
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  7. A Hasty Retreat From Evidence: The Recalcitrance of Relativism in Feminist Epistemology.Sharyn Clough - 1998 - Hypatia 13 (4):88-111.
    While feminist epistemologists have made important contributions to the deconstruction of the traditional representationalist model, some elements of the Cartesian legacy remain. For example, relativism continues to play a role in the underdetermination thesis used by Longino and Keller. Both argue that because scientific theories are underdetermined by evidence, theory choice must be relative to interpretive frameworks. Utilizing Davidson's philosophy of language, I offer a nonrepresentationalist alternative to suggest how relativism can be more fully avoided.
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  8. Relativism Defended.Howard Darmstadter - 2016 - Cogent Arts and Humanities 3:1-11.
    I argue for a type of relativism that allows different people to have conflicting accurate representations of the world. This is contrary to the view of most Anglo-American philosophers, who would, with Paul Boghossian in Fear of Knowledge, deny that “there are many radically different, yet ‘equally valid’ ways of knowing the world.” My argument is not a metaphysical argument about the ultimate nature of the outside world, but a psychological argument about the mental processes of representation. The argument starts (...)
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  9. Relativism and Progress.Howard Darmstadter - 2007 - Reason Papers (29):41-57.
    Relativism is a theory about how people organize their beliefs. We construct mental representations of the world—particular configurations of our internal brain stuff—to guide our actions. But our brains contain only a minuscule part of the world’s stuff. Given the limited brain stuff available, we can have detailed representations of some features of the world only if we simplify our representations of other parts. Our internal representational means are thus too meager to accurately represent reality in full. Which representations we (...)
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  10. The Problem of Fake News.M. R. X. Dentith - 2017 - Public Reason 8 (1-2):65-79.
    Looking at the recent spate of claims about “fake news” which appear to be a new feature of political discourse, I argue that fake news presents an interesting problem in epistemology. Te phenomena of fake news trades upon tolerating a certain indiference towards truth, which is sometimes expressed insincerely by political actors. Tis indiference and insincerity, I argue, has been allowed to fourish due to the way in which we have set the terms of the “public” epistemology that maintains what (...)
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  11. Towards Adualism: Becoming and Nihilism in Nietzsche’s Philosophy.Manuel Dries - 2008 - In M. Dries (ed.), Nietzsche on Time and History. Walter de Gruyter.
    For Nietzsche’s hypothesis of a threat of nihilism to be intelligible, this chapter attributes to him at least three assumptions that underpin his philosophical project: (1) what there is, is becoming (and not being), (2) most (if not all) strongly believe in being, and (3) nihilism is a function of the belief in being. This chapter argues that Nietzsche held two doctrines of becoming: one more radical, which he believes is required to fend off nihilism, and one much more moderate—the (...)
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  12. Was Heidegger a Relativist?Sacha Golob - forthcoming - In Martin Kusch, Katherina Kinzel, Johannes Steizinger & Niels Wildschut (eds.), The Emergence of Modern Relativism: The German Debates from the 1770s to the 1930s. pp. 18.
    The structure of this article is very simple. In the first half, I will introduce a sophisticated way of reading Heidegger as a relativist; I draw here on the work of Kusch and Lafont. In the second half, I present the counter-argument. As I see it, Heidegger is not a relativist; but understanding the relations between his approach and a relativistic one is crucial for an evaluation of both his own work and the broader trajectory of post-Kantian thought.
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  13. How Could Vygotsky Inform an Approach to Scientific Representations?Dimitris Kilakos - 2016 - Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 47 (1):140-152.
    In the quest for a new social turn in philosophy of science, exploring the prospects of a Vygotskian perspective could be of significant interest, especially due to his emphasis on the role of culture and socialisation in the development of cognitive functions. However, a philosophical reassessment of Vygotsky's ideas in general has yet to be done. As a step towards this direction, I attempt to elaborate an approach on scientific representations by drawing inspirations from Vygotsky. Specifically, I work upon Vygotsky’s (...)
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  14. Epistemic Relativism, Scepticism, Pluralism.Martin Kusch - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):4687-4703.
    There are a number of debates that are relevant to questions concerning objectivity in science. One of the eldest, and still one of the most intensely fought, is the debate over epistemic relativism. —All forms of epistemic relativism commit themselves to the view that it is impossible to show in a neutral, non-question-begging, way that one “epistemic system”, that is, one interconnected set of epistemic standards, is epistemically superior to others. I shall call this view “No-metajustification”. No-metajustification is commonly taken (...)
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  15. Review of John MacFarlane. (2014). Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and its Applications. Oxford, Oxford University Press. [REVIEW]Christos Kyriacou - forthcoming - Dialectica.
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  16. Response to Elqayam, Nottelmann, Peels and Vahid on My Paper 'Perspectivism, Deontologism and Epistemic Poverty'.Robert Lockie - 2016 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5 (3):21-47.
    I here respond to four SERRC commentators on my paper ‘Perspectivism, Deontologism and Epistemic Poverty’: Shira Elqayam, Nikolaj Nottelmann, Rik Peels and Hamid Vahid. I maintain that all accounts of epistemic justification must be constrained by two limit positions which have to be avoided. One is Conceptual Limit Panglossianism. The other is Conceptual Limit meliorism. Within these bounds one may offer an account of rationality or epistemic justification that is closer to Meliorism or Panglossianism. Remarked upon are my respondents’ considerations (...)
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  17. Relativism and Reflexivity.Robert Lockie - 2003 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (3):319 – 339.
    This paper develops a version of the self-refutation argument against relativism in the teeth of the prevailing response by relativists: that this argument begs the question against them. It is maintained that although weaker varieties of relativism are not self-refuting, strong varieties are faced by this argument with a choice between making themselves absolute (one thing is absolutely true - relativism); or reflexive (relativism is 'true for' the relativist). These positions are in direct conflict. The commonest response, Reflexive Relativism, is (...)
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  18. Epistemic Relativism.Jonathan Matheson - 2012 - In Andrew Cullison (ed.), Continuum Companion to Epistemology. Continuum. pp. 161-179.
    In this paper I examine the case for epistemic relativism focusing on an argument for epistemic relativism formulated (though not endorsed) by Paul Boghossian. Before examining Boghossian’s argument, however, I first examine some preliminary considerations for and against epistemic relativism.
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  19. Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis: What’s the Argument?Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Social Epistemology 29 (4):361-378.
    In this paper, I argue that there is neither valid deductive support nor strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis. There is no valid deductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis because, from the fact that the reference of the same kind terms changes or discontinues from one theoretical framework to another, it does not necessarily follow that these two theoretical frameworks are taxonomically incommensurable. There is no strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis, since there are rebutting defeaters against it (...)
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  20. Més enllà i més ençà del relativisme: tres filòsofs postmoderns i les seues raòns.Miguel Angel Quintana Paz - 2009 - Dilema: Revista de Filosofía 13 (1-2):73-94.
    Les diferents filosofies “postmodernes” que sorgiren dels anys 1970 als anys 1990 s'han considerat sovint com una classe d´“ideología” irracionalista-escèptica-relativista (o alguna altra sort d´amalgama semblant) que en el nostre temps prendrien perillosament el control sobre la filosofia acadèmica i la cultura occidental, amb greu risc per als universalistes o, simplement, per a qualsevol projecte racionalista.2 No obstant això, com el títol d'aquest article denota, un examen més detallat d'algunes tendències del pensament postmodern podria mostrar no solament que algunes d´aquestes (...)
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  21. Postmodernism is Not a Relativism. Communication Practices and Ethical Attitudes in Some Postmodern Thinkers.Miguel Angel Quintana Paz - 2007 - Concordia, Internationale Zeitschrift Für Philosophie 51:61-84.
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  22. Relativismos: una taxonomía.Miguel Angel Quintana Paz - 2007 - In El desafío de ser hombre. Madrid: CEU Ediciones. pp. 169-182.
    Para diagnosticar y curar una enfermedad del pensamiento y de la cultura tan devastadora en nuestros días como es la del relativismo, parece oportuno reparar antes en las diversas tipologías que este mal adopta, pues es razonable sospechar que seguramente las terapias oportunas podrán resultar más efectivas si lo sometemos a un tratamiento particularizado. Así pues, en mi comunicación, y una vez establecido el criterio según el cual se van a clasificar los diferentes modos de planteamiento epistemológico posible (criterio que (...)
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  23. The Case Against Epistemic Relativism: Reflections on Chapter 6 of Fear of Knowledge.Gideon Rosen - 2007 - Episteme 4 (1):10-29.
    According to one sort of epistemic relativist, normative epistemic claims (e.g., evidence E justifies hypothesis H) are never true or false simpliciter, but only relative to one or another epistemic system. In chapter 6 of Fear of Knowledge, Paul Boghossian objects to this view on the ground that its central notions cannot be explained, and that it cannot account for the normativity of epistemic discourse. This paper explores how the dogged relativist might respond.
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  24. Incommensurability and Demarcation.John T. Sanders - 1998 - In Dane R. Gordon & Józef Niznik (eds.), Criticism and Defense of Rationality in Contemporary Philosophy. Rodopi. pp. 65--83.
    If the term "relativism" is understood as relativists take it, everyone is a relativist. If, on the other hand, one understands "relativism" as absolutists do, no one really could consistently be a relativist, despite what they might think. As I hope to show, however, much of this positioning of persons and philosophies is foolish. It misses much that is important in philosophical discussion and focuses attention in directions that lead to dead ends.
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  25. Scepticism, Relativism and a Naturalistic Particularism.Howard Sankey - 2015 - Social Epistemology 29 (4):395-412.
    This paper presents a particularist and naturalist response to epistemic relativism. The response is based on an analysis of the source of epistemic relativism, according to which epistemic relativism is closely related to Pyrrhonian scepticism. The paper starts with a characterization of epistemic relativism. Such relativism is explicitly distinguished from epistemological contextualism. Next the paper presents an argument for epistemic relativism that is based on the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. It then considers a response to the problem of the (...)
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  26. Chisholm, scepticisme et relativisme.Howard Sankey - 2014 - Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique 10 (6).
    Cet article esquisse une réponse particulariste et naturaliste au relativisme épistémique. La réponse est basée sur une analyse spécifique de la source de relativisme épistémique. Selon cette analyse, le relativisme épistémique doit être considérée en lien proche avec le scepticisme pyrrhonien, car le relativisme est basée sur le problème du critère qui a été propose par les ces anciens sceptiques. L’article commence avec une caractérisation du relativisme épistémique. Puis il présente un argument pour le relativisme épistémique sur la base du (...)
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  27. Rationality, Relativism and Incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 1997 - Ashgate.
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  28. The Problem of Rational Theory-Choice.Howard Sankey - 1995 - Epistemologia 18 (2):299-312.
    The problem of rational theory-choice is the problem of whether choice of theory by a scientist may be objectively rational in the absence of an invariant scientific method. In this paper I offer a solution to the problem, but the solution I propose may come as something of a surprise. For I wish to argue that the work of the very authors who have put the rationality of such choice in question, Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, contains all that is (...)
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  29. The Problem of Relativism in the Sociology of (Scientific) Knowledge.Richard Schantz & Markus Seidel - 2011 - ontos.
    This volume comprises original articles by leading authors – from philosophy as well as sociology – in the debate around relativism in the sociology of (scientific) knowledge. Its aim has been to bring together several threads from the relevant disciplines and to cover the discussion from historical and systematic points of view. Among the contributors are Maria Baghramian, Barry Barnes, Martin Endreß, Hubert Knoblauch, Richard Schantz and Harvey Siegel.
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  30. Sophism and Pragmatism.Nicholas Shackel - 2010 - Logique Et Analyse 53 (210):131-149.
    A traditional pastime of philosophers is the analysis of rhetoric and the repudiation of sophistry. Nevertheless, some of what philosophers call sophistry might rather be a subtle repudiation of the traditional principles of rationality. In this paper I start by granting the Sophist his repudiation and outline some of the obstacles to settling the dispute between Sophists and Rationalists. I then suggest that we should distinguish pragmatic Sophism from nihilistic Sophism. In the hope of driving a wedge between these two (...)
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  31. Permissivism and the Arbitrariness Objection.Robert Mark Simpson - 2017 - Episteme 14 (4):519-538.
    Permissivism says that for some propositions and bodies of evidence, there is more than one rationally permissible doxastic attitude that can be taken towards that proposition given the evidence. Some critics of this view argue that it condones, as rationally acceptable, sets of attitudes that manifest an untenable kind of arbitrariness. I begin by providing a new and more detailed explication of what this alleged arbitrariness consists in. I then explain why Miriam Schoenfield’s prima facie promising attempt to answer the (...)
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  32. In Defence of Epistemic Relativism: The Concept of Truth in Georg Simmel’s Philosophy of Money.Johannes Steizinger - 2015 - Proceedings of the 38th International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium:300−302.
    As one of the first modern philosophers, Georg Simmel systematically developed a “relativistic world view” (Simmel 2004, VI). In this paper I attempt to examine Simmel’s relativistic answer to the question of truth. I trace his main arguments regarding the concept of truth and present his justification of epistemic relativism. In doing so, I also want to show that some of Simmel’s claims are surprisingly timely. Simmel’s relativistic concept of truth is supported by an evolutionary argument. The first part of (...)
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  33. Knowledge Attributions and Relevant Epistemic Standards.Dan Zeman - 2010 - In Recanati François, Stojanovic Isidora & Villanueva Neftali (eds.), Context Dependence, Perpsective and Relativity. Mouton de Gruyter.
    The paper is concerned with the semantics of knowledge attributions(K-claims, for short) and proposes a position holding that K-claims are contextsensitive that differs from extant views on the market. First I lay down the data a semantic theory for K-claims needs to explain. Next I present and assess three views purporting to give the semantics for K-claims: contextualism, subject-sensitive invariantism and relativism. All three views are found wanting with respect to their accounting for the data. I then propose a hybrid (...)
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