Chi ha paura del relativismo? Peirce, Wittgenstein, Vygotsky e le radici linguistiche della conoscenza (non della realtà)

Letizia Caronia


This paper discusses the recent realistic turn in philosophy and social sciences.The extreme oscillation of the epistemological pendulum toward radical constructivism (i.e. textualism and the lost of a realty “out there”) has produced a suitable counter oscillation toward realism and a renewed claim for a positivistic foundation of knowledge and praxis. Are we throwing the baby out with the bath water? The paper argues that constructivism a) doesn’t necessarily presuppose an antirealistic ontological premise; b) it implies some version of truth-as-correspondence criterion; c) it assumes the constitutive role of language and concepts in making a representation of reality and in assessing the truth value of the statement conveying this representation. Drawing upon the recognition of the unavoidable linguistic bases of knowledge and truth assessment, we contend that constructivism is –perhaps unfortunately – the only way we can access the world. Conceptual and epistemic relativisms are necessary corollaries of epistemological constructivism. In the discussion we contend that these forms of relativism do not necessarily lead to moral relativism. On the contrary epistemic relativism outlines responsibility as a relevant issue more than any claim for an ultimate, positivistic foundation of knowledge, decision making and praxis.


education; constructivism; knowledge; positivism; realism; relativism; truth; responsibility

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1970-2221/3215

Copyright (c) 2012 Letizia Caronia

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