Resisting Conversations Is Not Analogous to Notional Confrontation. Essay

Resisting Conversations Is Not Analogous to Notional Confrontation. Essay

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In Schafer’s paper Assessor Relativism and the Problem of Moral Disagreement, assessor relativism gives two options to someone participating in a disagreement. They can either “converge” with their opponent (agree) upon one belief, or refuse to converse with their opponent. Williams’ paper The Truth in Relativism argues for the idea of notional versus real confrontations. Williams’ idea of notional and real confrontation says someone participating in a disagreement can only convert to their opponent’s belief if and only if they are able to recognize this conversion as a real option. If there is no real option, then there is no real disagreement.
I will prove that notional confrontation is not analogous to refusing to take part in a conversation. First I will summarize both Schafer and Williams’ respective views. I will also explain three differences between the views. I will describe two particular cases where it might seem like notional confrontations are ways of refusing to take part in a conversation. I call them the Amish case and the alien case (Williams, Pg. 225). I will show how notional confrontations, that seem to be like Schafer’s assessor relativist resisting a conversation, are in some cases not actually notional confrontations. In other cases, I will show that notional confrontations are mistaken for resisting a conversation because they appear to be convergence, yet are actually conversions.
Schafer tries to determine what distinguishes moral disagreements from empirical disagreements. He proposes two options; either moral disagreement is not really disagreement, or they are disagreements but morality is somewhat objective (Schafer, Pg. 603). If we hold that moral disagreements are not real disagreements, like empi...

... middle of paper ..., is an objective question (Williams, Pg. 223).
This is the third and final difference between Schafer and Williams’ relativism. For Williams, it is neither sufficient, nor necessary that a peer in a moral disagreement want to convert to their opponent’s “system. For Schafer, it must at least be necessary that a peer in a moral disagreement want to converge with their opponent. The truth-value of the content of a proposition relies on the technical notion of truth, trues. Therefore, for two opponents to converge on a moral belief, they must both have the same conception of trues about that belief.

(1) Schafer, Karl. "Assessor Relativism and the Problem of Moral Disagreement." The Southern Journal of Philosophy 50.4 (2012): 602-20. Web.
(2) Williams, Bernard. "The Truth in Relativism." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 75 (1975): 215-28. Web.

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