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Patrick Becker - Ursula Diewald

Relativism, Postmodernism and Truth-Claim


From: Stimmen der Zeit, 10/2009, P. 673-684
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


    Benedict XVI's relativism reproach addresses also today's arbitrariness. PATRICK BECKER, Managing Director of the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of canonical courses of studies (AKAST) and URSULA DIEWALD, graduate theologian, demarcate the plurality of postmodernism from a faceless arbitrariness and connect it with a verifiable truth-claim.


In diagnosing the present time Joseph Ratzinger expressed shortly before his election as Pope Benedict XVI, "Relativism, which now as basic feeling of enlightened people reaches far into theology, is the deepest problem of our time." {1} With this strong thesis he associates that relativism led to a noncommittal distance {2}, and that theological contents were "ultimately irrelevant" {3}. A lethal "meaning vacuum" was threatening {4}. Culture was opposed to truth, because its variety showed the relativity of everything {5}.

These statements can be cited as representative for the many theologians who feel uncomfortable in view of developments in the philosophy of the 20th century. But what truth is there to this? The following is not to debate the motives lying behind such concerns but to subject the implicit philosophical content to a critical analysis. It will be asked whether there is really a philosophical position called "relativism" holding the view that statements are non-binding, and whether a relativism conceived along these lines is really the basic feeling of our time.


Relativism - Scepticism - Pluralism

The allegation of relativism uses a concept that could hardly be broader. Its vagueness has already been recognized and addressed by philosophers. A look at the literature shows that many options of systematization are possible {6}. How is the intended term 'relativism' to be identified in the context of Joseph Ratzinger's quotation? The basic theme of the book from which the quotation is taken is the concept of truth, the proper understanding of which is made the contentious issue with regard to the zeitgeist. It is about the relevance of truth for the right understanding of Christianity. Truth is seen as the cornerstone of Christian faith and as an inalienable criterion of every religio-theological tolerance. The thematic restriction on the question of truth definitely distinguishes this text from others, in which the modern age is also reproached with relativism. However, here, too, it does not become clear by which statements on truth the "relativism dogma" {7} is exactly characterized. As a theologian, Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI assigns - differently to a philosopher of science or a logician - to truth apart from the cognitive and semantic function one that is relevant to salvation.



He sees it as a real transcendent entity that is also bound to a particular historical figure {8}. But in the text the problem of the difference of this understanding of truth compared to other theories of truth is not further expounded {9}. A further clarification of the concept of relativism is also missing, and so it is necessary to take this opportunity to reflect on the concept of relativism.

The history of relativism is closely linked with the history of scepticism. This had its breeding ground in the observation that human opinions differ, and that once found knowledge can easily be refuted. Since many of our findings turned out to be wrong or unreliable, some people began to doubt that true knowledge can be achieved at all {10}. Scepticism therefore runs the risk of getting the reputation to deny the existence of truth altogether and to be identified with relativism. Scepticism, however, is based on a very strong concept of truth: those who by means of a (more or less radical) methodology of doubting want to protect themselves from errors have great respect for the idea of absolute truth.

One consequence of this sceptical attitude is the fallibilism in today's theory of science. The possibility of correct knowledge is not questioned, but the position of certism is rejected, according to which man can know with certainty whether s/he has proper knowledge or not. In the daily business of science this difference to scepticism may be overlooked, since in practical terms the attitude towards it remains the same: One can admittedly adhere to the ideal that true knowledge is attainable, but as long as there is no methodology to prove the absolute value of this knowledge, it remains only to say that one could also be wrong. Just because of this contrast to epistemological absolutism, which in turn uses a strong concept of truth, the fallibilist positions are often characterized as relativistic.

Another mistake is when one refers to pluralism as a relativist position {11}. Pluralism insists - not least because of the epistemological fallibilism - that it is philosophically impossible to make a priory an individual position resp. method absolute in comparison to others {12}. Different positions are on principle recognized as equivalent regarding their capability to establish truth. Here, too, the idea of the One Truth is not discarded, and criteria are, of course, given for establishing in which cases positions are regarded as basically equal in the above sense. But it can easily be seen that there is a problem from a theological point of view: If the truth question is asked in a religious context and the assumed evaluation criteria follow an absolutist understanding, the inherent logic in the first place prohibits the recognition of the truth of a different religious position.



Relativism and Philosophical Reasons

The equation of relativism with the rejection of the idea of rationality has to be considered critically. Nowadays, a common conception associates with rationality the observance of certain rules, which are regarded as the result of consensus of a defined group, for example, the group of empirical researchers. One might further differentiate between the concepts that basically consider the optimization of such rules regarding the ideal of universal validity possible, and those which have no such ideal in mind {13}. One rejects predominantly ultimate justification strategies [Letztbegründungsstrategien], particularly metaphysical ones, which are working with recourse to supernatural entities. But some people, who are post-fundamentalist in this respect, probably resort to a foundation that is no longer disputable [unhintergehbar] {14}.

Those whose understanding of rationality is based on the idea of a universal criteria catalogue as a result of a direct access to the ahistorical ideas of truth, goodness, etc. will certainly reject this conception of rationality.

This criticism would be entirely improper, if they were guided by the idea that someone would reject reasons as such. The denial of a possible existence of compelling reasons, which are no longer disputable, as the last foundation of all empirical, moral and intellectual knowledge happens on the basis of certain reasons. Hardly anyone doubts the legitimacy of concepts of justification based on the exchange of reasons. Doubt arises only if from such legitimacy a universal validity claim is derived. Basically, in philosophy post-fundamentalist theories, which actually "reach far into theology", today belong to the popular repertoire.

Relativism and Truth Statements

Those who argue with reasons cannot generally refuse the truth value of statements. This can be illustrated when one considers relativism in its clearest form, in the form of radical cognitive relativism. This doctrine states that all statements are equally true. Even in this case the same validity is not automatically given. If one philosophically states that two statements are valid at the same time, then one argues that there is logically no contradiction when you at the same time assert both the one and the other thing. A conflict can only result if the relation of two statements to each other is sufficiently clear. Do they refer to the same subject or are they asserted each in a different context?



A real problem seems only to be the cases in which two seemingly contradictory statements relate at the same time to the same facts, as e.g., "The death penalty has a provable deterrent effect, that is to say the number of deliberate killings has significantly decreased compared to the year X, in which the death penalty has been introduced." And, "The death penalty has no provable deterrent effect, that is to say the number of deliberate killings has significantly decreased compared to the year X, in which the death penalty has been introduced." At first glance it seems easily possible to test empirically the two sentences. Accordingly, the death penalty has either a verifiable effect or it has none.

This would be quite in the sense of antirelativist literature, which often insists on the correspondence theory of truth. It virtually means that the truth of empirical statements, as in the example above, can be established on the basis of certain facts. Those who deny this would hold solipsism, but this is virtually done by nobody {15}. A correspondence understood in this way uses a very modest concept of realism, which is shared by most anti-realists {16}. They are only opposed to calling this factual knowledge "truth" and thus to give it the appearance of having an ontological status that would be independent of our epistemic reference. The anti-realist position does not contradict the view that facts exist independently of us, but it only maintains that no status is attached to these facts before we are interested in them.

Taking up the above example: Either the death penalty has the aforementioned effect or not. If it has that effect, then it exists regardless of whether I'm talking about it, which e.g. is demonstrated by the fact that from time to time someone desists from an intended murder. However, the anti-realist will insist on the fact that there is no entity "fact of deterrence", which is waiting to be activated by my statement. For where should it be found?

This realism / anti-realism debate does de facto not matter in everyday life. For example, when the world public was waiting for the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, no anti-realist or alleged relativist has argued and questioned the point of this search for the simple reason that there is anyway no truth and, provided that those weapons existed, the opposite assertion of non-existence would also be correct. Not least because of the fundamental decidability in everyday life, some people warn against an inflation of truth {17}. Truth means conformity with the facts, but "fact" is a placeholder for a collection of crucial, empirically observable facts, the existence of which nobody doubts as soon as s/he has got knowledge of them {18}. For this reason it would be inaccurate to accuse them they maintained that everything was equally true or could even be legitimately asserted.



The radical cognitive relativism - the only definite form - is a self-contradictory position, which is rightly rejected but which nobody seriously holds {19}.

But what about a situation in which statements cannot that easily be verified? For example, a decrease in the number of homicides in the year X could also be attributed to an economic boom, because as a result of improved living conditions of the general population the number of violent crimes also decreases. How can one establish the "true" cause? To regard the lower murder rate as a result of the death penalty is a possible interpretation that cannot be invalidated; but it is one of several other basically legitimate interpretations of the cause, even if accurate facts and figures are available. This is called the problem of induction. The question of the truth would here be unproductive. Here it is less about truth than about the plausibility of a statement competing with many others.


The (philosophical) Concept of "Postmodernism"

Authors who are dealing with a diagnosis of the culture of their time often use the term "relativism". It is usually understood as a property of a particular epoch, which is denoted by the no less vague word "postmodernism". Despite many efforts to oppose this one-sided use of postmodernism as name for an epoch and more differentiating to understand it as a disparate stylistic feature of various areas of life (starting from architecture and literary criticism) {20}, we meet this concept mainly in just this function. According to the diagnosis of those authors there is no longer any contradiction for the man of today. S/he is to admit that every view is right; in this respect everything is optional to her/him {21}. This view is in Joseph Ratzinger's / Benedict XVI's mind when he is worried about the "obliging character" of true statements {22}. He therefore fears that truth could be degraded to the issue of arbitrariness.


Arbitrariness as an Inherent Characteristic of Contemporary Thought

As a principal witness for the arbitrariness of postmodernism is widely seen the Austrian philosopher Paul Feyerabend, in particular thanks to "Anything goes" formulated by him, which is found in his famous book "Against Method" and now serves as a shorthand term for arbitrariness {23}. However, Feyerabend emphasizes already in the preface of the revised German edition that this wording does not represent a principle but rather an observation.



The book is all in all a polemic, and was intended as a provocative presentation to which the rationalist Imre Lakatos should answer - Lakatos, however, died previously. This explains why Feyerabend argues one-sidedly against rationalism and also against Karl Popper - after all, his former promoter. Feyerabend's reputation as the enfant terrible of philosophy of science was established with this book.

The thrust of Feyerabend is nevertheless visible. He is concerned with releasing science and human existence in general from a corset into which it is forced by Popper's rationalism. Feyerabend reproaches Popper with rendering homage to objectivism and to contest thus the subjectivity of all knowledge. He further accuses him of making one single method, rationalism absolute. Feyerabend takes here his starting-point and calls for a variety of methods. He shows that it is precisely science's task to call conventions, methods, and even the respective dominant worldview into question and to dare a step into the unknown. The sober consideration of history of science has taught Feyerabend the range of most different methods and logics used by scientists. Accordingly, there is "not a single rule ..., as obvious and epistemologically well-founded it may be, that would not have been violated at some time" {24}. From this observation the "only general principle not impeding progress: Anything goes" results {25}.

The crucial point distinguishing Feyerabend's "anything goes" from arbitrariness is that Feyerabend refers only to the methods of obtaining knowledge. He does not postulate that values and criteria for reasoning are completely arbitrary. He merely asserts that we have no absolute value with absolute certainty. At this point it is not at all about the question of whether there is truth, but how we deal with knowledge. Feyerabend argues for plurality and individuality of research and against the absolutization of knowledge.


Critique of Metaphysics as Recognition of Plurality

Two programmes, which can be seen as the main feature of postmodernism: critique of metaphysics and antiessentialism might be in the 20th century the common tendency of many famous philosophers, who were dependent on and influenced each other. Since God was the first target of the critique of metaphysics, it understandably meets with suspicion in theology. But critique of metaphysics can first be understood as a way to deal critically with metaphysical statements; it does not necessarily deny the existence of metaphysical entities.



Every form of metaphysics cannot be rejected more radically than by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). He can be regarded as the grandfather of postmodernism. However, with Nietzsche a very strong positive motive becomes evident: that of freedom. It became therefore also the implicit motto of postmodernism to free people from constraints and violence - as already outlined in Feyerabend's writings. Liberation from constraints is done by recognizing the plurality of lifestyles of individuals, by appreciating diversity at all levels, by rejecting any form of pressing individuals into a system. Voices of critique of metaphysics will be raised when people are deprived of their autonomy by taking recourse to a higher authority. The appreciation of pluralism and the rejection of any metaphysically motivated violence is an important basic orientation of postmodernism {26}.

The philosopher Wolfgang Welsch, too, who has definitively influenced the debate about postmodern philosophy in Germany, takes recourse to the idea of pluralism as an alternative to metaphysics' rigorous unity thinking [Einheitsdenken], which he calls "putting people into uniform" {27}. He regards it as the "key concept of post-modernism":

"All topoi that became known as postmodern - the end of metanarratives, dispersion of the subject, decentralization of meaning, simultaneity of the non-simultaneous, the impossibility to synthesize the diverse lifestyles and patterns of rationality - become understandable in light of plurality." {28}

He also emphasizes that this plurality does not at all mean arbitrariness. In the equation of postmodernism with arbitrariness made in the feuilletons Welsch sees the decisive reason why the term "postmodern" was avoided by almost all philosophers and has all in all rather disappeared. Plurality is living on the appreciation of the difference. To bring difference within our experience criteria are needed by means of which differences are identified and also evaluated. The difference to uniformity is that uniform thinking per se condemns deviations and appraises other models according to the extent to which they differ from one's own. Plural thinking must assess other models as well (anyway, you are to decide in favour of one of them), but it does not need in the first place to declare them to be bad (worse).



The second important characteristic can be regarded as a consequence, or at least as a logical extension of the critique of metaphysics. The distrust reflected in it of transcendent, ahistorical and universal concepts of explaining the world had sooner or later also to be extended to the conceptual world, which had - in the opinion of sceptics - stood by those concepts for the longest period.



Nietzsche had seen, "The legislation on language gives also the first laws of truth." {29} Metaphysics grasped "the truth" about the phenomena of life in detail through the (Platonic) insight into their "essence" or "nature". From the view of metaphysico-critical thinkers one had now to begin to understand these concepts, too, as a cipher, as a placeholder for a conglomerate of linguistic and cultural conventions. The phenomena that we can see have no immutable essence, their "essence" does not go beyond the "knowledge" we gain about them by means of our actions and dealings with them and through our linguistic communication. This position is therefore called anti-essentialism. In this perspective by and by the strong notions of tradition, inter alia "logos", "ratio", "true knowledge" and "truth", are destroyed by different authors. Some authors, but not all of them, even include the concept of "God".

Anti-essentialists make no statements about the status of those 'ousted' concepts but have been working under the assumption that there is not anything that corresponds independently of language to those concepts. They see it as their task to make the extension of those concepts again visible and to analyze the "grammar" of the underlying language. For they assume pseudo-problems behind the use of those strong concepts, by which the mind unnecessarily gets "bumps" {30}. The late Wittgenstein has been understood in this way and has thus inspired a movement that is identified with the "Linguistic Turn" and has still its effect within the analytic philosophy of language and logic under different labels: "Ordinary-language philosophy," "deflationism" and others.

Although the anti-essentialists definitely stress that they "demystify" the world, their programme has little to do with trivializing the experiences stored in the traditional vocabulary or with leaving them to arbitrary interpretations. Language does always follow rules; in this respect here, too, the category of arbitrariness is completely unaffected.

Anti-essentialists like it to use the picture of language as a tool and imply thus its evolutionary function. In this respect opponents could argue that the connection between language and coincidence implied a certain arbitrariness in the semantic reference. In fact, this is an important aspect of the anti-essentialist programme, because with it the possibility of changing the vocabulary is opened. By new semantic links we are able to change our language, our view of the world, and thus the world itself {31}. But it would be wrong to take this flexibility of language as arbitrariness. Language does only function as a tool if it is responsive to everyday and intersubjectively communicable experiences.



Postmodernism and Truth Claim

If postmodernism does not mean arbitrariness, then it can also be linked with the question of truth. A useful example for it is the work of Hilary Putnam. The American philosopher stands by the anti-essentialist basic tendency and is critical of metaphysics but advocates nevertheless the conception of objective truth.

The internal realism developed by Putnam in the 70ies {32} tries to take a middle course between - in Putnam's words - the classical realism and classical anti-realism. Classical realism is marked by Putnam with the four characteristics: correspondence (truth is the correspondence between proposition and fact), independence (truth is independent of our possibilities to find it out), bivalence (a sentence is either true or false) and uniqueness (there is only one truth) {33}. As classic anti-realism Putnam refers to cultural relativism, according to which truth is defined only as a convention within a group and has therefore not any claim to objectivity. Both positions have intuitive attraction for us, because on the one hand we often enough learn by experience that people meet different truths between which they cannot take a decision, but on the other hand we want on principle to stand by the view that ultimately - and with clearly defined premises - only one version comes up to objective validity.

According to Putnam this balancing act between subjective presentation and objective claim happens already on the conceptual level. On the one hand, concepts have no absolute meaning but are used in different systems in different ways. Concepts are therefore relative, because they always are in a system of assumptions and presuppositions. On the other hand, if we have opted for a system of concepts then clear rules are definitely valid there. Within this system, we then make an objective truth claim that is intersubjectively verifiable.

Putnam now wants to unite both sides - the relativity of all our concepts and propositions, and the claim to objectivity of the concept of truth - by speaking then of truth, if a sentence is rationally accepted under ideal epistemological conditions. The call for ideal circumstances wants to take up the objective side: there is an independent truth that we can grasp under ideal circumstances. With the rational acceptance Putnam identifies the subjective component: What we accept depends on many external factors, but it is ultimately our decision. With this concept of rationality Putnam can take up Feyerabend's critical thrust, who has fought against Popper's objectification of rationality.

Truth and rationality are intertwined with each other in Putnam's work. What can be regarded as rational is defined by our culture and especially our values.



Putnam thus maintains that there is a close relationship between facts and values. However, values and thus rationality are not arbitrary. There are universal moral concepts and also a general consensus with regard to rationality which Putnam describes as objective claim. Again, it becomes clear that relativism and arbitrariness have not necessarily to do with each other. Even though we, as a matter of principle, are to content ourselves with our subjective perspective, we are nevertheless always striving for intersubjective criteria.


Relativism as the Deepest Feeling of Our Time

If there are no criteria for right or wrong, if discussions do not pursue a goal, if faith is irrelevant, then a sense vacuum is in fact unavoidable. But is an arbitrariness of this type really the prevailing view of life? There is still room for a philosophical discourse precisely because philosophers adhere to the concept of criteria, to the idea of the exchange of arguments for certain (contingently formed) beliefs. Every author has something that is important for him, and he will be able to tell us the criteria for his thinking. He will continue also in this respect to stand for their "truth", as he will try to convince others of his point of view. However, one has to abandon the idea that he at the same time thus posits that his position was certainly and at any rate true. It was the call for a commitment on this meta-level to which the post-fundamentalist culture of philosophy said farewell.

With this observation we do not need to keep to the professional philosopher. Do not the insisting on human rights in China, the criticism of excessive salaries of managers that are thus regarded as unjust, or even just a look at the Basic Law show that our society is based on a strong consensus on values and is continuously discussing it - and this just because it is regarded as eminently important?

"Relativism" is a concept that in its radical form is claimed by nobody, whereas it in its weaker forms is used for philosophical debates that can be better described by other names {34}. Some of these debates claim programmes that can with some justification be regarded as philosophically post-modern in so far as they, in their recognition of plurality, are critical of metaphysics and share the subject of anti-essentialism. The term "arbitrariness", however, does not correspond to any real philosophical position, but comes from man's moral behaviour in everyday life.

The high value of the objections to relativism, for which the text of Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI acted as model, could become much clearer by sharpening the opponents' profile.



For the pope first rightly makes an important diagnosis. In view of those (relativistic) programmes specific questions "have become the central problem for faith in our time {35}. These are: "Can truth be recognized? Or is the question of truth in the field of religion and faith simply inappropriate? But what does faith mean, what does religion positively mean, if it is not allowed to get in touch with reality?" {36}



{1} J. Ratzinger / Benedikt XVI., Glaube - Wahrheit - Toleranz. Das Christentum u. die Weltreligionen (Freiburg 42005) 60.

{2} See in the same place 102.

{3} In the same place 60.

{4} In the same place 65.

{5} In the same place 60.

{6} Literature (selection) on this topic: S. Blackburn, Wahrheit. Ein Wegweiser für Skeptiker (Darmstadt 2005); P. O'Grady, Relativism (Chesham 2002); H. J. Wendel, Moderner Relativismus. Zur Kritik antirealistischer Sichtweisen des Erkenntnisproblems (Tübingen 1990).

{7} J. Ratzinger / Benedict XVI (note 1) 60.

{8} J. Ratzinger / Benedict XVI defines it in this way: "The belief that there is indeed truth, the binding and valid truth in history as such, in the figure of Jesus Christ, and in the faith of the Church" (in the same place 97).

{9} On the contrary, in a later part of the book Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI follows explicitly the idea of the encyclical "Fides et ratio", see ibid, 148-169. The guiding principle here is that for theology and philosophy the same truth is naturally at stake, because truth encompasses all spheres of human existence. If philosophy turned to concepts of truth that are alien to those of Christianity, it deprived itself of its foundation.

{10} About the history of scepticism: M. Gabriel, Antike u. moderne Skepsis zur Einführung (Hamburg 2008) especially 16f.

{11} This reproach becomes important in the examination of John Hick's theological pluralism, cf. J. Ratzinger / Benedict XVI (note 1) 96-111.

{12} See Fr. Kambartel, article Pluralismus, in: Enzyklopädie Philosophie u. Wissenschaftstheorie, edited by J. Mittelstraß (Stuttgart 2004) volume 3, 275 et sequ.

{13} In fact, the dividing line to relativism is often drawn at this very spot. For example, many people see here the difference between classical pragmatism, with which Hilary Putnam wants to be classed, and the more radical neo-pragmatism with which most people class Richard Rorty. The former is able to stand by a sort of convergence, by truth in the sense of an ideal conclusion of research, whereas Rorty evaluates progress by mere moral criteria: science and philosophy do not provide more adequate, but more effective theories with regard to an increase in the quality of life for as many people as possible, see R. Rorty, Wahrheit u. Fortschritt (Frankfurt 2000) 57; the same, Solidarität oder Objektivität. Drei philosophische Essays (Stuttgart 1988) 22-24.

{14} In the field of practical philosophy the attempts of the "weak" ultimate justification, which is conceived non-metaphysically or in the way of natural law, are particularly clearly noticeable. Here we mention as an example Stefan Gosepath, who provides a weak justification of egalitarian justice: see St. Gosepath, Equal Justice (Frankfurt 2004) especially 144-174.

{15} Contrary to the methodological solipsism, which is definitely still advocated, see G. Gabriel, Article Solipsism, in: HWP, volume 9, 1018-1023.

{16} This weaker form of realism is sometimes called robust realism or minimalism.



{17} The so-called "deflationism gives such warnings. As an overview of the main propositions of deflationism see M. Fischer, Davidsons semantisches Programm u. deflationäre Wahrheitskonzeptionen (Heusenstamm 2008) 8, 83-135, especially 85.

{18} In this respect "truth" can also be understood relatively without problems as "consensus".

{19} See H. Putnam, Vernunft, Wahrheit u. Geschichte (Frankfurt 1982) 163.

{20} A very good information on the evolution of the term "postmodernism" offers the introduction of P. Kondylis, Der Niedergang der bürgerlichen Denk- u. Lebensform. Die liberale Moderne u. die massendemokratische Postmoderne (Weinheim 1991) 3-19, especially 14. It should be noted, however, that the book is all in all understood as an explicit contribution to the understanding of the epoche; see also H. Bertens, Die Postmoderne u. ihr Verhältnis zum Modernismus. Eine Übersicht, in: Die unvollendete Vernunft: Moderne versus Postmoderne, edited by D. Kamper and W. van Reijen (Frankfurt 1987); W. Welsch, Unsere postmoderne Moderne (Berlin 62002).

{21} In this view one can probably also find the motive of the book "Bullshit" by H. Frankfurt (Frankfurt 2006). Its introductory sentence reads, "One of the most striking features of our culture is the fact that there is so much bullshit." (8); see also Kondylis (note 20) 5.

{22} In the text in question he is mainly dealing with the binding character of theological content, and the research into the religious culture certainly shows he is right here: see M. N. Ebertz, Kirche im Gegenwind. Zum Umbruch der religiösen Landschaft (Freiburg 1997) especially 98-100. But since according to his concept of truth the unity of religious truth corresponds to the ideal of truth of all knowledge, one can deduce that he is concerned about the obligatory nature of all true statements.

{23} P. Feyerabend, Wider den Methodenzwang (Frankfurt 102007).

{24} In the same place 21.

{25} In the same place

{26} This is clearly be found in the classical French authors such as Jean-Franwis Lyotard, who had coined the name "post-modernism".

{27} Welsch (note 20) 54.

{28} In the same place XVII.

{29} F. Nietzsche, Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen Sinne, KSA 1, 877.

{30} See L. Wittgenstein, Werkausgabe, volume 1, Tractatus logico-philosophicus. Tagebücher 1914-1916. Philosophische Untersuchungen (Frankfurt 1984) PU § 119 (301).

{31} Authors draw from this opportunity, both in practical terms (by introducing new ways of speaking) as e.g. Jacques Derrida and in theoretical terms (by ascribing an important place in their political conceptions to this mechanism), as e.g. Richard Rorty. See inter alia J. Derrida, Die Postkarte von Sokrates bis an Freud u. jenseits, Lfg. 1, Envois/Sendungen (Berlin ²1989) 2 volumes; R. Rorty, Kontingenz, Ironie u. Solidarität (Frankfurt 1989).

{32} Essential motives are found e.g. in H. Putnam, Die Bedeutung von Bedeutung (Frankfurt, 1979).

{33} See the same, Repräsentation u. Realität (Frankfurt 1991) 188.

{34} It is here by no means be overlooked that the debate titles proposed in this article are in turn generalizations. There is neither a scepticism nor a pluralism of this kind.

{35} J. Ratzinger / Benedikt XVI (note 1) 94.

{36} In the same place 11.


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