Olga E. Stolyarova
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Presidential Academy of National Econ-omy and Public Administration
What can be said, and what must be kept in silence: relativism, skepticism, apophaticism
Abstract. The article considers the philosophical position of criticism of metaphysics in the context of negative philosophical traditions of skepticism, relativism and apophatic ontotheology. The question is raised about what is the fundamental difference between the negative positions of skepticism, relativism and apophaticism, on the one hand, and the position of realism, on the other. It is shown that a positive ontology that allows for knowledge of the world, and a negative ontology that prohibits knowledge of the world, both speak about the knowability of the knowable and the unknowability of the unknowable. However, philosophy would have ended, almost not having begun, with this trivial tautology, if it did not think in the substantial way. Substantive questions refer to the establishment of the boundaries between the knowing subject and the world; they are asked about the nature of the connection between the knowing subject and the world, or about the reasons for the absence of connection (about the causes of the rupture) between the knowing subject and what lies outside his or her cognition (“Great Outdoors”). It is shown that a negative ontology, which limits our thinking and affirms the unknowability of the world as a whole (the absolute), nevertheless remains an ontology, i. e. a conceptual expression of our comprehension of being and the conditions of its unknowability. Thus, it is shown that any criticism of metaphysics, including relativism, requires an ontology. This point of view renders relativism harmless and allows us to conclude that philosophy as a whole (including both metaphysics and criticism of metaphysics) is ontologically rooted knowledge.
Keywords: metaphysics, criticism of metaphysics, ontology, relativism, realism, skepticism, apophatic tradition of ontotheology, realism, idealism, materialism.
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