The article discusses Nicholas Rescher’s metaphilosophical view of orientational pluralism. In his essay Philosophical Disagreement: An Essay towards Orientational Pluralism in Metaphilosophy Rescher explains a substantial difference between philosophy and science—namely, that philosophers—differently than scientists— continuously propose and undermine various solutions to the same old problems. In philosophy it is difficult to find any consensus or convergence of theories. According to Rescher, this pluralism of theoretical positions is caused by holding by philosophers different sets and hierarchies of cognitive values, i.e. methodological orientations. These orientations are chosen in virtue of some practical postulates, they are of axiological, normative, but not strictly theoretical character. Different methodological orientations yield different evaluations of philosophical theses and arguments. This article shows that Rescher’s account does not determine clearly acceptable cognitive values. If there are no clear criteria of evaluation of methodological orientations, then the described view seems to be identical to relativism adopting the everything goes rule. In addition, accepting orientational pluralism it is hard to avoid the conclusion that discussions between various philosophical schools are futile or can be reduced to non-rational persuasion.
Go to article