Dictionary of Arguments

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Relativism, philosophy: relativism is a collective term for views that generally refer to the conditions which are fundamental for the occurrence of these views. Variants are based on theories, on languages, on social groups or on cultures. See also internal realism, externalism, observational language, cultural relativism, idealization.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
Author Item Summary Meta data
II 44
Theory: rewording: E.g. assuming, we swap electron and molecule - any empirical statement (with theoretical term) is rated opposite - solution: we mark the theoretical terms and assign them to the two theories: then no problem, no relativism.
V 89
Relative Identity/Geach: (Geach, Reference and generality, p. 39f): Identity only makes sense with regard to a general term such as "the same dog".
QuineVsGeach: this certainly applies to the beginning of language learning.
Identity/Showing/Pointing/Quine: Problem: there is no point in showing twice and saying, "This is the same as that". Then one could still ask. "The same what?"
Example: One could have pointed once at the dog and once only at the ear.
Solution: You can easily say a is identical to b. Whether a is the same dog or the same ear depends on whether a is a dog or an ear.
QuineVsGeach: this makes his relativism untenable once you get used to the identity speech.
Identity/Quine: but is still relative in a deeper sense.
II 44
Relativity of Theories/Quine: A theory formulation merely implies its categorical observational sentences without being implied by them. Therefore, the observation conditionals implied by two theory formulations can all be identical without the formulations implying each other.
II 45
Let us assume that in a situation there is no possibility of harmonisation by reinterpretation of the terms. We would probably not know that they are empirically equivalent. Because that they are, one usually gets out by the discovery of such a reinterpretation. Nevertheless, we want to assume that they are empirically equivalent.
Further assumed: all categorical observations are de facto true, although this is not known either. Further conditions for the truth of one theory or the other certainly cannot be set. Question: are they both true? Quine: I say yes.
But even they can be logically incompatible despite their empirical equivalence, which raises the spectre of >cultural relativism. Because each of them is obviously only true from its point of view.
QuineVsCultural Relativism: The spectre can easily be dispelled: by a step that is as trivial as the interchange of "electron" and "molecule": Since the two theoretical formulations are incompatible, they have to evaluate a certain sentence in the opposite direction.
Since they are nevertheless empirically equivalent, this sentence must contain terms that are not sufficiently determined by observation criteria.
Then we might as well pick out one of these terms and treat it as if it were two independent words, one belonging to one theory, the other to another.
II 46
We could indicate this by the notation. By consistently maintaining this spelling, we could resolve any conflict between these theories. From then on, both could be accepted as terminologically different true descriptions of one and the same world. The threat of truth relativism has been averted.
XI 121
QuineVsCultural Relativism/Lauener: is contradictory in itself.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Quine I
W.V.O. Quine
Word and Object, Cambridge/MA 1960
German Edition:
Wort und Gegenstand Stuttgart 1980

Quine II
W.V.O. Quine
Theories and Things, Cambridge/MA 1986
German Edition:
Theorien und Dinge Frankfurt 1985

Quine III
W.V.O. Quine
Methods of Logic, 4th edition Cambridge/MA 1982
German Edition:
Grundzüge der Logik Frankfurt 1978

Quine V
W.V.O. Quine
The Roots of Reference, La Salle/Illinois 1974
German Edition:
Die Wurzeln der Referenz Frankfurt 1989

Quine VI
W.V.O. Quine
Pursuit of Truth, Cambridge/MA 1992
German Edition:
Unterwegs zur Wahrheit Paderborn 1995

Quine VII
W.V.O. Quine
From a logical point of view Cambridge, Mass. 1953

Quine VII (a)
W. V. A. Quine
On what there is
In
From a Logical Point of View, , Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (b)
W. V. A. Quine
Two dogmas of empiricism
In
From a Logical Point of View, , Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (c)
W. V. A. Quine
The problem of meaning in linguistics
In
From a Logical Point of View, , Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (d)
W. V. A. Quine
Identity, ostension and hypostasis
In
From a Logical Point of View, , Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (e)
W. V. A. Quine
New foundations for mathematical logic
In
From a Logical Point of View, , Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (f)
W. V. A. Quine
Logic and the reification of universals
In
From a Logical Point of View, , Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (g)
W. V. A. Quine
Notes on the theory of reference
In
From a Logical Point of View, , Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (h)
W. V. A. Quine
Reference and modality
In
From a Logical Point of View, , Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (i)
W. V. A. Quine
Meaning and existential inference
In
From a Logical Point of View, , Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VIII
W.V.O. Quine
Designation and Existence, in: The Journal of Philosophy 36 (1939)
German Edition:
Bezeichnung und Referenz
In
Zur Philosophie der idealen Sprache, J. Sinnreich (Hg), München 1982

Quine IX
W.V.O. Quine
Set Theory and its Logic, Cambridge/MA 1963
German Edition:
Mengenlehre und ihre Logik Wiesbaden 1967

Quine X
W.V.O. Quine
The Philosophy of Logic, Cambridge/MA 1970, 1986
German Edition:
Philosophie der Logik Bamberg 2005

Quine XII
W.V.O. Quine
Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, New York 1969
German Edition:
Ontologische Relativität Frankfurt 2003

Quine XIII
Willard Van Orman Quine
Quiddities Cambridge/London 1987


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-03-24
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