chapter  7
Intuition, Revelation, and Relativism
BySteven D. Hales
Pages 25

Recent defences of relativism mostly focus on a negative task: that of rebutting various common attacks on relativism, especially the ever-popular argument that relativism is self-refuting.1 In this paper I sketch a positive strategy for showing the truth of relativism, or, more precisely, the truth of the view that philosophical propositions are merely relatively true, true relative to a doxastic perspective defined at least in part by a non-inferential belief-acquiring method.2 Here is the strategy I will defend: first, the primary way that contemporary philosophers defend their views is through the use of rational intuition, and this method delivers non-inferential, basic beliefs which are then systematized and brought into reflective equilibrium. Second, Christian theologians use exactly the same methodology, only replacing intuition with revelation. Third, intuition and revelation yield frequently inconsistent output beliefs. Fourth, there is no defensible reason to prefer the dictates of intuition to those of Christian revelation. Fifth, the

resulting dilemma means that there are true philosophical propositions, but we can’t know them (scepticism), or there are no philosophical propositions and the naturalists are right (nihilism), or relativism is true. This is quite a radical conclusion: either all of intuition-driven philosophy is bogus (option 1) or a waste of time (option 2), or relativism is true. I suggest that relativism is the most palatable of these alternatives.