On the Plurality of Actual Worlds


This work offers a rigorously reasoned defense of the metaphysical relativism often associated with the "postmodern" condition. Andrew L. Blais takes as his point of departure our occasional suspicion that others live in different worlds, and the philosophical thesis that articulates this suspicion; namely, that there are many actual worlds and truths. He argues that this thesis, far from being fanciful, is a necessary presupposition of coherent thought about ourselves. Grounding his analysis in a Kantian notion of what it means to be a "world", Blais articulates his argument through a discussion of the views of other philosophers. He begins by examining the doctrines of Protagoras and Plato, then looks more closely at those of Whorf, Quine, Goodman, Putnam, and other major contemporary thinkers. Blais concludes by considering the implications of the argument for social and literary theory, focusing on the question of why socially constructed objects are sometimes experienced as if they were not constructions. In his view, there is no social and political reality independent of perspective, no neutral position from which one can make sense of the truth or falsity of social and political thought.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Amherst, MA
Publication year:
  • 1997


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