- Publisher: MIT Press
- Format: Hardback | 196 pages
- Dimensions: 159mm x 236mm x 19mm | 547g
- Publication date: 11 January 1999
- Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass.
- ISBN 10: 026212212X
- ISBN 13: 9780262122122
- Edition statement: New.
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 1999 Academic debates about pluralism and truth have become increasingly polarized in recent years. One side embraces extreme relativism, deeming any talk of objective truth as philosophically naive. The opposition, frequently arguing that any sort of relativism leads to nihilism, insists on an objective notion of truth according to which there is only one true story of the world. Both sides agree that there is no middle path. In Truth in Context, Michael Lynch argues that there is a middle path, one where metaphysical pluralism is consistent with a robust realism about truth. Drawing on the work of Hilary Putnam, W.V.O. Quine, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, among others, Lynch develops an original version of metaphysical pluralism, which he calls relativistic Kantianism. He argues that one can take facts and propositions as relative without implying that our ordinary concept of truth is a relative, epistemic, or "soft" concept. The truths may be relative, but our concept of truth need not be.
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Michael P. Lynch is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut and the author of Truth in Context: An Essay on Pluralism and Objectivity and True to Life: Why Truth Matters, both published by the MIT Press.
"This clear and well-written book is a fascinating attempt to find a via media between the thesis that there is 'one true story of the world' and the thesis that there is no objective truth or falsity. Lynch calls his middle way pluralism: he argues that, although there is more than one truth, there is nevertheless such a thing as objective falsity. Despite the fact that I am constitutionally unable to accept Lynch's conclusions, I regard this as an important book. This is the book that those of us who believe in 'the one true story of the world' will have to refute." --Peter van Inwagen, John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Philosophy, The University of Notre Dame
Table of contents
Part 1 The faces of pluralism: the problem; faces of absolutism; the move to pluralism; metaphysical pluralism; facts and content; three objections. Part 2 Understanding conceptual schemes: three models; the Kantian model; the Quinean model; the Wittgensteinian model; the very idea. Part 3 Extending our worldview: concepts - two pictures; conceptual fluidity and family resemblance; conceptual fluidity and minimal concepts; concepts and change. Part 4 The nature of existence: dilemmas confronted; objects and existence; dilemmas resolved; the idealism objection. Part 5 The currents of truth: what is realism about truth?; antirealism about truth - epistemic theories; antirealism about truth - deflationary theories; the correspondence theory and pluralism; minimal realism about truth; relative truth. Part 6 The true and the real: relativism, inconsistency and self-reference; on stepping outside of my own skin; evaluating schemes; facing the noumena; the purpose of metaphysics.