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Relativism and Modernity: Under the Sign of Nietzsche

Anno XXXI, n. 136, luglio-ottobre 1996
Centro Einaudi


Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

Relativism has become the common world view of our time. It is not without social consequences, providing fertile ground for the development of sects and hampering the education of citizens. The causes of relativism’s success are manifold and their exploration raises a key problem of sociology of knowledge. Tocqueville’s brief analysis of the question is extremely important and worthwhile developing. In certain respects, the social sciences help to legitimate relativism by giving the philosophy a scientific sanction, if not a base, through the "hyperculturalist model" widespread not only in anthropology, but also in sociology. Today a reaction is taking place against this dominant world view: it attempts to counter widespread culturalism with a naturalist vision. But isn’t this like cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face?