Global Relativism

  • J. Adam Carter
Part of the Palgrave Innovations in Philosophy book series (PIIP)


If everything is relative, then so are epistemic standards, norms and facts; is there anything to recommend the quick path to epistemic relativism, via global relativism? This chapter explores this question by examining global relativism in some detail. Of particular interest will be the familiar charge that the doctrine is self-refuting. Careful attention to the way Plato attempted to level this very charge against Protagoras’s version of global relativism will be instructive, and it will be shown how Burnyeat’s (1976) nuanced defence of Plato’s self-refutation argument in the Theatetus foreshadows an important dividing line in contemporary thinking about relativism between Boghossian (2006a) and Wright (2008). The conclusion reached in this chapter is that global relativism is ultimately not a defensible view, though this is hardly because (as is often thought) it can be dismissed with a quick ‘knock-down’.


Relative Truth Epistemic Standard Epistemic Relativism Global Relativism Liar Sentence 
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Copyright information

© J. Adam Carter 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Adam Carter
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK

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