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Mind, Meaning, and KnowledgeThemes from the Philosophy of Crispin Wright$
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Annalisa Coliva

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278053

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278053.001.0001

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How to Formulate Relativism

How to Formulate Relativism

(p.238) 9 How to Formulate Relativism
Mind, Meaning, and Knowledge

Carol Rovane

Oxford University Press

Wright accepts that relativism arises with irresoluble disagreements in which both parties are (or can be) right, but rejects the semantic relativists’ strategy for handling the resulting threat of contradiction. He has explored two other strategies — one exploits the framework of anti-realism, and the other introduces the idea of a Quandary. But all attempts to formulate relativism in terms of disagreement suffer from the same problem: either they fail to preserve a disagreement or they incur contradiction (or a related form of incoherence). A different strategy for formulating relativism appeals to the idea of alternatives — truths that cannot be embraced together because they are neither inconsistent nor consistent, but are therefore normatively insulated from one another. So formulated, relativism imposes a distinctive normative stance that is neither disagreement nor agreement, and it carries a distinctive metaphysical commitment to Multimundialism — the idea that there are many worlds rather than one.

Keywords:   relativism, disagreement, relative truth, anti-realism, Quandary, alternative, normative insularity, Multimundialism

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