Options of Belief

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Professor Ernest André Gellner
Professor Ernest André Gellner (1925 – 1995)
Professor Steven Lukes
Professor Steven Lukes (1941 – )
Conway Memorial Lecture
Conway Memorial Lecture
Moncure Conway photo by Edward Steichen, 1907. Courtesy of Dickinson College.
Moncure Conway photo by Edward Steichen, 1907. Courtesy of Dickinson College.
Delivered at Conway Hall 5 November 1974. Chaired by Professor Steven Lukes and presented by Professor Ernest Gellner.
Abstract

An attack on epistemological relativism. Firstly, this relativism involves logical contradictions: it is actually absolutist in being unequivocally what it is, and not some other position. Secondly, the fact that there are many conflicting truth-claims does not mean-as relativists argue-that none can be absolutely correct or incorrect. The history of scientific progress is that of selection from a range of truth-claims, a selection based on uniformity in method of verification, and on independence from intuitions possessing social, cultural and political power. Extra –social ways of validating truth-claims are the distinctive feature of science: of epistemological absolutism.

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