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« Dan Sperber on the Enigma of Reason | Main | 'The Power of the Voice in the Age of the Internet' »

October 09, 2011



This debate on the pragmatic implications of differing systems of belief seems to be to boil down to conceptual relativism, and hence to conceptual schemes. Conceptual schemes are the systems by which we conceptualise the 'blooming, buzzing confusion' of the world around us into substantive, meaningful sense experience which is intelligible to me. But can't these conceptual schemes vary? Or must we NECESSARILY all conceptualise and categorise in the same way? It looks like conceptual schemes do seem to vary. Theists and atheists may 'see the world' in totally different ways: they may have totally incoerent ways in which they perceive sex before marriage, evil, etc. And if conceptual schemes do vary, then we are left with conceptual relativism. This conceptual relativism renders any grasp on one coherent, concrete truth as untenable: instead, all we have is people with different ways of perceiving the world - and hence, conflicting networks or systems of belief - which cannot be resolved and must be accepted, whatever the CONFLICTING consequences.

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