The Coherence of Giving Up Frege’s Constraint: Comments on Baghramian and Coliva’s Relativism

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In their book Relativism, Maria Baghramian and Annalisa Coliva (B&C; 2020) offer a panoramic view of various forms of relativism and their history. They make a considerable effort to engage sympathetically with relativists and to portray the motivations and advantages of the various forms of relativism they discuss. They bravely opt for an approach that attempts to articulate a common core in many views that have been thought of as forms of relativism, and this enables them to approach their subject matter in a systematic, unifying way. This is surely a good feature of the book.
However, ultimately B&C conclude that ‘no model … can provide a coherent account of all core claims and motivations of relativism’, and they voice the suspicion that relativism may be ‘an incoherent concept’ (269).

The fact that this is the conclusion of course raises the question whether B&C’s ‘core claims and motivations’ fit the claims and motivations of actual relativists, and whether ‘relativism’ is adequately characterized by B&C’s core claims and motivations. I shall here not discuss the question of how ‘relativism’ is best defined. But since I am one of the philosophers who figure as the target relativists in the book, I shall engage with the objections that are put forward against various substantive views of mine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-492
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 603120 Philosophy of language
  • 603124 Theory of science
  • 603104 History of philosophy

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