Article ID: CBB001221677

Scepticism, Relativism and the Argument from the Criterion (2012)


This article explores the relationship between epistemic relativism and Pyrrhonian scepticism. It is argued that a fundamental argument for contemporary epistemic relativism derives from the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. Pyrrhonian scepticism is compared and contrasted with Cartesian scepticism about the external world and Humean scepticism about induction. Epistemic relativism is characterized as relativism due to the variation of epistemic norms, and is contrasted with other forms of cognitive relativism, such as truth relativism, conceptual relativism and ontological relativism. An argument from the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion to epistemic relativism is presented, and is contrasted with three other arguments for epistemic relativism. It is argued that the argument from the criterion is the most fundamental argument for epistemic relativism. Finally, it is noted how the argument of the present paper fits with the author's previous suggestion that a particularist response to the Pyrrhonian sceptic may be combined with a naturalistic view of epistemic warrant to meet the challenge of epistemic relativism.

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Authors & Contributors
Seidel, Markus
Godin, Benoît
Gingras, Yves
Detel, Wolfgang
Stanistreet, Paul
Popkin, Richard Henry
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Science and Education
Journal for General Philosophy of Science
Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitgeschiedenis
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Palgrave Macmillan
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
San Diego State University
Cornell University Press
Philosophy of science
Relativism (philosophy)
Methodology of science; scientific method
Fleck, Ludwik
Feyerabend, Paul K.
Gassendi, Pierre
Descartes, René
Hume, David
Time Periods
17th century
20th century
16th century
20th century, late
21st century

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