Welcome to our blog.
Who are we?
We are a group of philosophers who are all members of, or are closely associated with, the ERC project “The Emergence of Relativism” at the University of Vienna. You can find out more about (most of) us here, and about the project here.
Beyond our common interest in relativism, we have very diverse philosophical perspectives. We come from different philosophical backgrounds (some of us work primarily historically, some of us primarily systematically), have different specialisms (including, amongst others: history of philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of science, moral philosophy, philosophy of language, and metaphysics), and are at different career stages (some of us are students, some are postdocs, and one is a professor).
Why are we starting this blog?
We wanted a place to start a conversation about relativism. Relativism is the key theme in all of our research, but it is a particularly contentious philosophical thesis. Most philosophers (both historically and today) take attributions of relativism to a view or author to be objections, and so we think that there is a special need for a public forum where it is taken seriously.
Moreover, we think that our work on relativism connects with political and social issues in an important way. Relativism (of various stripes) is often thought to be associated with oppressive or facist politics, to be in opposition to truth, and to undermine the authority of experts. Although our group has diverse views, all of us think that these characterisations are at best over-simplifications, or at worst just false. In fact, we think that certain forms of relativism can offer ways to resist these troubling politics and attitudes. Given recent developments in Europe and the United States, persuading people of this strikes us as an increasingly urgent task, and so a place where we can make the case for the connection between our research and these issues both directly, and quickly, strikes us as important.
What can you expect from us?
Most of the time you can expect short, research-focused pieces, that seek to give you an insight into some of the most cutting-edge work on relativism, and will often (we hope) also help you to think about some of the most pressing and troubling issues that the world faces today. In addition to this, we already have plans to interview some of the key figures in contemporary relativism debates, comment on current events, and report on our other research activities (such as conferences).
We hope to appeal to a broad audience. Whether you are an established philosopher, a student, or an interested non-professional, we think that you will find something thought-provoking here. Most posts will be in English, but we may have some posts in German too. To begin with, we will post a minimum of once per month.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions or suggestions then please leave a comment.