Article/Publication Details

Overcoming Relativism in Current Philosophy of History

(Original title: Prekonávanie relativizmu v súčasnej filozofii histórie)
Filozofia, 2021, vol. 76, No 1, pp. 18 – 30.
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Abstract

During the last decades, narrativism has been one of the most influential approaches in the philosophy of history. Proponents of this movement argue that historical works are not faithful descriptions of the past reality but rather original constructions or interpretations of historians. The views of narrativists have been criticized for being relativistic. For it seems that on their view historians may shape the same data using various interpretative frameworks or conceptual schemes and this leads to plurality in history. In recent years several authors, including Paul Roth and Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen, developed some of the points and conclusions of narrativism. Although these authors are inspired by narrativism, they significantly change understanding of historical works and that is why their accounts avoid relativism. The aim of this paper is to show that these authors overcome relativism. Dualism of content and form, as Donald Davidson puts it, supports conceptual relativism. Since Roth and Kuukkanen avoid this dualism in their understanding of history, they overcome conceptual relativism in current philosophy of history.

Keywords

Conceptual relativism, Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen, Narrativism, Paul Roth, Philosophy of history, Relativism