Contribution to a Critique of Cultural Relativism
Truth, Christopher Norris reminds us, is very much out of fashion at the moment - whether at the hands of politicians, media pundits, or purveyors of postmodern wisdom in cultural and literary studies.
Across a range of disciplines the idea has taken hold that truth-talk is either redundant or the product of epistemic might. Questions of truth and falsehood are always internal to some specific language-game; history is just another kind of fiction; philosophy is only a kind of writing; law is a wholly rhetorical practice. In Reclaiming Truth, Norris critiques these fashionable trends of thought and mounts a specific challenge to cultural relativist doctrines in epistemology, philosophy of science, ethics, and political theory.
Norris attempts to rehabilitate the value of truth in philosophy of science by restoring a lost distinction between concept and metaphor and argues that theoretical discourse, far from being an inconsequential activity, has very real consequences, particularly in ethics and politics.
‘These are brilliant and stimulating essays. One does not have to agree with Norris’ position to appreciate the way in which he produces problems for us and stages philosophical conflicts vividly and productively.’