Book Chapter

Extended Rationality and Epistemic Relativism


Ashton NA (2021) Extended Rationality and Epistemic Relativism. In: Moretti L & Pedersen NJLL (eds.) Non-Evidentialist Epistemology. Brill Studies in Skepticism, 3. Leiden: Brill, pp. 55-72.

In her book Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology (2015), Annalisa Coliva distances her positive anti-sceptical proposal from what she calls “devastating” relativist interpretations (2015: 120). She proposes two ways someone might attempt to formulate epistemic relativism from her positive view, and argues that both fail because they rely on alternative conceptions of rationality which are either “unintelligible” or “inconceivable”. In this chapter I do three things. First, I highlight problems with Coliva’s arguments against relativism; she fails to show that the conception of rationality needed for the first formulation of relativism is unintelligible, and overestimates the significance of the second’s turning out to be inconceivable. Second, I reveal a deeper problem; neither formulation follows a realistic blueprint for relativism, so these weren’t the right possibilities to consider. Finally, I suggest a more plausible relativist formulation that could be based on Coliva’s view, leaving open whether or not it is successful.

Title of seriesBrill Studies in Skepticism
Number in series3
Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online17/06/2021
Place of publicationLeiden
ISSN of series2215-177X