Relativism is a philosophical view that, notoriously, new college students find intriguing but old philosophy professors find indefensible. It holds that our claims about the world – what is real, what is true, what is right – are so dependent on the context in which they arise (for example, on the culture or historical time period) that when they conflict with each other, we have no neutral (non-cultural, ahistorical) grounds on which to declare one more accurate than the other. Plato, more than two thousand years ago, pointed out that relativism is a view riddled with paradox. If all truths are relative, then what about relativism itself? Is it only relatively true? In this book, I draw on anthropology and on my own experience living in Ecuador to defend a robust and coherent version of relativism, offering a new space for tolerating difference as well as defending our beliefs.
Selected Academic Works
Relativism, Realism, and the Roots of the Ecological Crisis