Chapter

A Relativistic Approach to Some Philosophical Problems

Peter Unger

in Philosophical Relativity

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195155532
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019515553X.003.0003
A Relativistic Approach to Some Philosophical Problems

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Applies the semantic relativism developed in the previous chapters to key terms in several philosophical debates in order to establish philosophical relativity. In all of these cases, invariantism forces the skeptical position whilst contextualism resonates with our common sense views. These philosophical debates and their relevant terms are (1) the problem of epistemic skepticism via “know,” (2) the problem of freewill and determinism as instanced by compatibilism and incompatibilism via “can” and “freewill,” (3) the problem of specifying causal conditions via “cause,” and (4) the problem of explanation via “explanation.” (1), (3), and (4) are straightforward categorical problems in that the skeptic's success will simply mean that the terms involved fail to apply. (2) by contrast is a conditional problem such that it is contingent on the truth of determinism itself, which few assent to.

Keywords: categorical problem; causal conditions; compatibilism; conditional problem; contextualism; determinism; epistemic skepticism; explanation; invariantism; philosophical relativism; philosophical relativity; semantic relativism

Chapter.  9434 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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