SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

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The False Dichotomy of Objectivism and Relativism: A Defense of Rortian Pragmatism against Paul Boghossian

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Paul Boghossian would have us believe there are only two positions to choose from regarding the outcome of scientific methods or other doxastic practices: either absolute, objective knowledge, on the one hand, or absolute relativism, on the other. According to this antiquated view, one purportedly “fearful” of “true” knowledge will choose the latter (perhaps out of a sense of “post-colonial guilt”) whereas one exhibiting “common sense” will, on Boghossian’s view, recognize the reasonableness of the former and see the way clear to discovering timeless, universal, mind-independent truths. What professor Boghossian misconstrues, and therefore fails to adequately present, is a third option: a pragmatist perspective that recognizes both the merits and the limitations of science (or other doxastic practices) while intentionally seeking sustainable intercultural solidarity from an ethics-based perspective.

Author(s):

John Thompson    
St. Ambrose University
United States

 

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