(Populism in Philosophy. Nicholas Rescher's Scientific Relativismus)
Hans-Joachim Niemann: Populismus in der Philosophie. Nicholas Reschers wissenschaftlicher Relativismus. CONCEPTUS XXVIII No. 73, p. 271-300 (1995).
Summary. The influence of philosophical papers can be increased by matching the interests of two different groups of readers: the large readership of those generally interested in philosophical issues and, on the other hand, the professional philosophers. Often a kind of ambiguous writing is successfully used for this purpose, but not always sustained consistently. In such cases the message to their fellow philosophers is convincing but trivial, whereas the other message is exciting, but suffers a serious lack of justification. In addition, the arguments are put forward in a misleading way so as to let you think they would support the more interesting thesis. As a recent example of this artful and widespread philosophical populism a paper of Nicholas Rescher is discussed. His "scientific relativism" is scientifically defensible only in a very trivial interpretation. However the dozens of times repeated theses in the version obviously intended by Rescher would mean a revolution in the philosophy of science and it would really come as a complete surprise to all scientists - if Rescher could give detailed reasons for it. But just that he fails to do.
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