Archived Versions

24.03 Relativism, Reason, and Reality

As taught in: Spring 2005

A black and white photograph of a sculpture of Socrates.

A bust of Aristotle. (Image courtesy of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.)

Level:

Undergraduate

Instructors:

Prof. Stephen Yablo

Course Features

Course Description

Are moral standards relative to cultures and/or moral frameworks? Are there incompatible or non-comparable ways of thinking about the world that are somehow equally good? Is science getting closer to the truth? Is rationality--the notion of a good reason to believe something--relative to cultural norms? What are selves? Is there a coherent form of relativism about the self? Guided by the writings of Thomas Kuhn, Gilbert Harman, Judith Thomson, John Perry and Derek Parfit, we attempt to make these vague questions precise, and we make a start at answering them.