When in Rome

An Introduction to Relativism and Knowledge

By Nancy L. Gifford

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780873956680, 159 pages, June 1983
Hardcover : 9780873956673, 159 pages, June 1983

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Table of contents



1. The Problem of Knowledge


1. Knowledge, Who Needs It?
2. "I'm from Missouri - Show Me"
3. Have a Seat
4. Belief, Everybody's Got One
5. The Foundations of Knowledge


2. Naive Relativism


6. Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder: Subjective Knowledge
7. Subjective Evidence: A Philosophical Dilemma
8. Different Strokes for Different Folks: Abuses
9. The Problem of Evidence


3. Context Relativism


10. The Importance of Context: Three Examples
11. Argument from Uniqueness: The Relativist's Challenge
12. Philosophers at Work
13. Subject and Object
14. It All Depends on What You Mean: Abuses
15. Increasing Our Knowledge of the World


4. Cultural Relativism


16. The Argument from Language
17. Social Scientists at Work: Benedict and Marx
18. The Philosopher's Dilemma Returns: The Problem of Intersubjectivity
19. Tools of Evidence: Confirmation and Explanation
20. Pseudo-Generalization/Pseudo-Knowledge: Abuses
21. Science and Knowledge


5. Empirical Knowledge


22. A Modification
23. Dialogue with the Popular Relativist
24. A Final Defense of Objectivity and Universality




"The book deals with an issue that is intrinsically important (philosophical relativism) and with a topic that an introductory audience would find immediately interesting. In short, the author has succeeded in addressing a popular audience about an important problem that they will already be interested in because of the prevalence of relativism itself in contemporary culture. " — Carl G. Vaught, Pennsylvania State University

"A book of just this introductory sort, concerning relativism, appealing and usable by undergraduates in precisely this way, has been very badly needed for a long time. The book fills a very real teaching need. " — Patrick Grim, State University of New York at Stony Brook

"It deals clearly, sensitively, and very readably with one of the most pervasive, stubborn, and destructive assumptions among students beginning philosophy. " — Marcia Cavell Aufhauser, State University of New York College at Purchase