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Relativism and Monadic Truth

Analysis , Volume 71 (1) – Jan 1, 2011


Oxford University Press
Copyright © 2011 Oxford University Press
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Relativism and Monadic Truth


BOOK SYMPOSIUM By HERMAN CAPPELEN AND JOHN HAWTHORNE Oxford University Press, 2009. viii þ 148 £19.99 Summary HERMAN CAPPELEN AND JOHN HAWTHORNE The beginning of the twenty-first century saw something of a comeback for relativism within analytical philosophy. Relativism and Monadic Truth has three main goals. First, we wished to clarify what we take to be the key moving parts in the intellectual machinations of self-described relativists. Secondly, we aimed to expose fundamental flaws in those argumentative strategies that drive the pro-relativist movement and precursors from which they draw inspiration. Thirdly, we hoped that our polemic would serve as an indirect defence of a traditional and natural picture concerning truth. According to this picture, what we call ‘Simplicity’, the fundamental structure of semantic reality is best revealed by construing truth as a simple monadic property of propositions that serve as the objects of belief, assertion, meaning and agreement. Our project was not a straightforward one. So-called relativists are not uniform in their key ideology, are often sloppy, casual, obscure or confused in their self-characterization, and differ in their argumentative emphasis among themselves and over time, thereby presenting a target that is both amorphous and shifty. This is an
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