onsdag, maj 25, 2011

David Burell om relativism

"... the specter of relativism gains in stature and threat as a function of Enlightenment presuppositions about reason and truth, for they presume a normative set of rational criteria available to all, over against which any claim to other sets of criteria is utterly unsettling. That is what we mean by relativism; that there are no longer any operative norms across human discourse; so power or even violence will have to arbitrate. However, like earlier debates over natural law, there may be other ways of thinking about those criteria that are not so laden with specific beliefs but that have to do with the fact that believers formed in quite diverse traditions can discourse with one another. Once the idol of pure reason has been shattered, and we can learn to accept diverse ways of arriving at conclusions, we will also find that we can employ the skills learned in our tradition to follow reasoning in another. Traditions, in other words, may indeed be relative to one another in ways that can prove mutually fruitful rather than isolating. Those traditions that prove to be so will be those that avail themselves of human reason in their development, and the patterns of stress and strain in their evolution will display their capacity for exploiting the resources of reason. In short, relativism gives way before the fact that all inquiry takes place within a tradition, and the specter that it evoked turns out to be the shadow of our faith in pure reason, that is, in the possibility of human inquiry outside of any tradition. So the discovery of reason that every inquiry employs presuppositions that cannot themselves be rationally justified opens the way to self-knowledge on the part of Enlightenment philosophy itself, which can then take its place among the traditions."
David Burell - Faith and Freedom: An Interfaith Perspective. Blackwell, 2004. s.202

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