James G. Carrier (jgc5p@UVA.PCMAIL.VIRGINIA.EDU)
Thu, 20 Jan 1994 18:58:09 EST

Loath as I am to bore you all again, might it be worth noting that relativity
and even relativism can induce a rather desirable caution? Is it really a Bad
Thing to consider that we really might not know how the world ought to be? Is
it really a Bad Thing to consider that maybe we ought to err on the side of
inactivity rather than intervention? Is it really a Bad Thing to have a
framework that encourages us to think again, to consider a few more factors,
before issuing our pronouncements?
Of course each of us knows that this message does not apply to
ourselves. But consider the benighted folk at the IMF. Might not a little
dose of caution-inducing relativism have saved a bit of backtracking in, for
example, sub-Saharan Africa.
Or, aphoristically, maybe fools rush in where relativists fear to tread.


James G. Carrier

29, University Circle / Charlottesville, Virginia, 22903
(804) 971-2983 /