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Relativism: A Contemporary Anthology Paperback – August 6, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


A valuable resource for researchers working on the topic of relativism.... Highly recommended.



Nobody can read these essays without learning not only a great deal about relativism but also a great deal about how to do philosophy, period.

(Alan Ryan, Oxford University)

There is no better source for pertinent views on relativism.

(Jeremy Wisnewski, Hartwick College)

The list of contributors to this volume is beyond impressive.

(Jill Stauffer, Haverford College)

This is something I and many others would like to see available. There is nothing comparable on the topic that challenges the volume for its comprehensiveness.

(Jerry Vision, Temple University)

I am familiar with most of these essays, and they are just outstanding, and indeed, they fully comprise the reading list for a quality graduate course on this material.

(Michael McKenna, Florida State University)

This anthology brings together the best and freshest approaches to the question of relativism in philosophy and cultural disciplines. Anyone interested in relativism and recent developments in philosophy will find this collection thought-provoking and invaluable.

(Richard Bernstein, author of Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis)

A treasure trove of essays by leading contemporary philosophers exploring the varieties of relativism. Sure to become the standard collection of current work on this provocative topic.

(Steven M. Cahn, The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

A classic and broad-ranging collection of essays on a foundational philosophical problem by several of the most eminent Anglo-American philosophers of our time. Indispensable for graduate seminars and for anyone interested in questions of truth, certainty, pluralism, democracy, and the fragility of human existence.

(Lydia Goehr, Columbia University)

This collection, which contains both classic and contemporary readings, is impressive in its scope. It examines relativism in relation to, for example, theories of truth, knowledge, modes of scientific inquiry, moral relativism, and possibilities for cultural understanding. Yet it is also focused: successive readings follow trains of debate, and they branch out to explore the multidimensionality of the issues. Nine new essays provide advances to research in the field and the section on culture is especially rich and timely. This is likely to be the definitive collection on the topic for some time.

(Susan Feagin, Temple University)

The volume is indispensable for anybody interested in one of the most powerful and seductive, but usually poorly understood, philosophies of the past decades: relativism. Comprehensive and thorough, the book offers clear definitions, a careful intellectual history of the term "relativism," several evaluations by major scholars, and provocative test cases and applications, especially in difficult domains such as science and morality. In addition to classic, landmark essays on the topic, Relativism includes original work by both well-established and new authors, thus offering a new perspective filtered through the ideas and philosophies that have emerged since the term was first introduced. Sophisticated in its philosophical analyses and compelling in its explanations and assessments, this is a superb intellectual product coordinated by an experienced philosopher who has been among the creators of relativism, yet has never become merely a propagator.

(Andreea Deciu Ritivoi, Carnegie Mellon University)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (August 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231144113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231144117
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,539,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This is one of the best anthologies on relativism. It is balanced, comprehensive, and philosophically sophisticated. It is fairly difficult, in my opinion, and may be best suited for someone already acquainted with philosophy or an intelligent lay reader.
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