This book is a study of relativism as a dominant intellectual preoccupation of our time. Relativism asks how we are to find a way out of intractable differences of perspectives and disagreements in various domains. Standards of truth, rationality, and ethical right and wrong vary greatly and there are no universal criteria for adjudicating between them. In considering this problem, relativism suggests that what is true or right can only be determined within variable contexts of assessment.
This book brings together articles published in the International Journal of Philosophical Studies over a period of 17 years, as well as in a Special Issue of the journal published in 2004. The chapters in Section I discuss some of the main forms of relativism. Section II sheds light on the different motivations for relativism, assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Section III provides a detailed examination of the vexed question of whether Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his later work, supported relativism. The varied responses to this important question shed light on the issues discussed in Sections I and II. This collection is a lively and engaging resource for scholars interested in the crucial impact relativism has had on the way we think about the meaning of truth, and what is right and wrong.
The chapters in this book were originally published in the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.