Scepticism, Relativism and a Naturalistic Particularism

Social Epistemology 29 (4):395-412 (2015)
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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 criterion proposed by Roderick Chisholm, which is based on epistemological particularism. After sketching Chisholm’s approach, a response to epistemic relativism is presented which combines Chisholm’s particularism with epistemic naturalism and reliabilism. A number of objections to the position are then considered. The paper ends with remarks about the relationship between particularism and the naturalistic response proposed to epistemic relativism

Author's Profile

Howard Sankey
University of Melbourne


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