On Certainty, Epistemic Incommensurability and Epistemic Relativism

On Certainty, Epistemic Incommensurability and Epistemic Relativism Abstract:In this paper, I present Wittgenstein’s remarks on the structure of reason, drawing on the notions of “hinges” he developed in On Certainty. I then outline some of the unpalatable relativistic consequences that can be extracted by Wittgenstein’s epistemological views. Then, developing the similarities between Wittgenstein’s treatment of “hinges” and his views on metrology and religious beliefs, I aim to show that his remarks on the structure of reason, once correctly understood and developed, can help us to block rather than license relativistic conclusions. I argue that following Wittgenstein’s views on epistemology, we should be able to dismiss all the cases of apparent unsolvable disagreement between communities committed to radically different worldviews; this is so because, once seen in the light of his conception of the structure of reason, these disagreements are either solvable, as they are based on lack of knowledge and can thus be solved through education and training, or are mere pseudo-problems that stem from misguided comparisons between constitutively different language games and are thus the result of a misleading way of representing the nature and aim of our epistemic practices. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Wittgenstein-Studien de Gruyter

On Certainty, Epistemic Incommensurability and Epistemic Relativism

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Publisher
De Gruyter
Copyright
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
1868-7458
eISSN
1868-7458
D.O.I.
10.1515/witt-2018-0012
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract:In this paper, I present Wittgenstein’s remarks on the structure of reason, drawing on the notions of “hinges” he developed in On Certainty. I then outline some of the unpalatable relativistic consequences that can be extracted by Wittgenstein’s epistemological views. Then, developing the similarities between Wittgenstein’s treatment of “hinges” and his views on metrology and religious beliefs, I aim to show that his remarks on the structure of reason, once correctly understood and developed, can help us to block rather than license relativistic conclusions. I argue that following Wittgenstein’s views on epistemology, we should be able to dismiss all the cases of apparent unsolvable disagreement between communities committed to radically different worldviews; this is so because, once seen in the light of his conception of the structure of reason, these disagreements are either solvable, as they are based on lack of knowledge and can thus be solved through education and training, or are mere pseudo-problems that stem from misguided comparisons between constitutively different language games and are thus the result of a misleading way of representing the nature and aim of our epistemic practices.

Journal

Wittgenstein-Studiende Gruyter

Published: Feb 21, 2018

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