To determine if a course is remote, hybrid, or in-person use the catalog search tool to narrow results. Otherwise, when browsing courses, the section indicates teaching mode:
Teaching modes (remote, hybrid, in-person) are subject to change at any point. Please pay close attention when registering. Depending on the timing of a teaching mode change, faculty also may be in contact with students.
The aim of the course is to survey, analyze and discuss many varieties of relativism–semantic, epistemic, ontological and moral–from Plato’s Theaetetus to contemporary social constructivism. We will pay special attention to the structure of arguments for and against relativism, as well as to the philosophical motivations and perceived consequences of its endorsement or rejection. We will thus be led to discuss some of the concepts common to epistemology, metaphysics and ethics: reason, justification, objectivity, understanding, reality and truth. Some of the questions we will consider are: Are moral standards relative to cultural frameworks? Are there incompatible but equally true ways of describing the world? Is rationality relative to cultural norms? Is relativism a form of skepticism? Is it forced on people who endorse cultural pluralism as their political ideal as the only tenable philosophical position? Our readings will include the relevant works of Plato, Sextus Empiricus, Carnap, Quine, Davidson, Goodman, Elgin, Hacking, Krausz, Foot, and Williams, among others.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
class attendance, preparedness and presentation; weekly small group discussions and one or two group presentations in class; three short writing assignments (1-2 pgs. each) and three 5 pages long papers
two philosophy courses, or consent of the instructor
Philosophy majors and intended majors
PHIL Contemp Metaphysics + Epistemology Courses