conventionalism
A theory that magnifies the role of decisions, or free selection from amongst equally possible alternatives, in order to show that what appears to be objective or fixed by nature is in fact an artefact of human convention, similar to conventions of etiquette, or grammar, or law. Thus one might suppose that moral rules owe more to social convention than to anything imposed from outside, or that supposedly inexorable necessities are in fact the shadow of our linguistic conventions. In the philosophy of science, conventionalism is the doctrine often traced to Poincaré ; that apparently real scientific differences, such as that between describing space in terms of a Euclidean and a non-Euclidean geometry, in fact register the acceptance of a different system of conventions for describing space. Thus one can no more ask whether Euclidean geometry is true than whether the metric system is true. Poincaré did not hold that all scientific theory is conventional, but left space for genuinely experimental laws, and his conventionalism is in practice modified by recognition that one choice of description may be more convenient than another. More recent holistic approaches to theories and to meaning find it impossible to separate out the objective or empirical from the conventional or linguistic (see also Quine ). The disadvantage of conventionalism is that it must show that alternative, equally workable conventions could have been adopted, and it is often not easy to believe that. For example, if we hold that some ethical norm such as respect for promises or property is conventional, we ought to be able to show that human needs would have been equally well satisfied by a system involving a different norm, and this may be hard to establish.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • Conventionalism — is the philosophical attitude that fundamental principles of a certain kind are grounded on (explicit or implicit) agreements in society, rather than on external reality.[citation needed] Although this attitude is commonly held with respect to… …   Wikipedia

  • convenţionalism — CONVENŢIONALÍSM s.n. Caracterul a ceea ce este convenţional; (în artă) tendinţă idealistă de a se conforma regulilor deja acceptate (accepta), fără o percepere proprie, realistă, a faptelor. [pr.: ţi o ] – Din fr. conventionalisme. Trimis de… …   Dicționar Român

  • Conventionalism — Con*ven tion*al*ism, n. 1. That which is received or established by convention or arbitrary agreement; that which is in accordance with the fashion, tradition, or usage. [1913 Webster] All the artifice and conventionalism of life. Hawthorne.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • conventionalism — is the view that the adoption by the relevant scientific community of one theory rather than its rival(s) is a matter of mere convention. It is now widely accepted in the philosophy of science that even the best established scientific laws and… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • conventionalism — index custom Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • conventionalism — noun see conventional …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • conventionalism — /keuhn ven sheuh nl iz euhm/, n. 1. adherence to or advocacy of conventional attitudes or practices. 2. something conventional, as an expression or attitude. 3. Philos. the view that fundamental principles are validated by definition, agreement,… …   Universalium

  • conventionalism — noun a) Adherence to social conventions; conventional behavior b) The doctrine that logical or mathematical principles are simply the expression of conventions See Also: conventionalist …   Wiktionary

  • convenţionalísm — s. n. (sil. ţi o ) …   Romanian orthography

  • conventionalism — con ven·tion·al·ism || ʃnÉ™lɪzÉ™m n. conventional behavior, adherence to accepted norms …   English contemporary dictionary

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