I wrote (this is an excerpt halfway into the conversation):
[A]s a term of art, "perspectivism" happens to be associated in scholarship specifically with Nietzschean views I doubt you actually would endorse. Your more or less commonsense view of scientific practice is roughly the same as my own and is perfectly compatible with a pragmatic characterization. That is, I agree that in the matter of instrumental belief -- beliefs from which we aspire to facilitate prediction and control -- those beliefs on offer are better that will have been warranted by the usual criteria, testability, publication, evidenciary substantiation, coherence with existing knowledge, saving the phenomena, and the rest. As a pluralist, I will note that not all beliefs are instrumental, and that reasonable moral, aesthetic, ethical, legal, political beliefs will be warranted by different criteria related to those domains (I wrote about that topic a bit a while back, here). As for my claim that proper scientific practice is democratic, what I mean by that claim is likely both more complicated but also more sensible than you probably think: Is Science Democratic? Hope that helps you understand where I am coming from.The relevant part of my interlocutor's response:
I tend to reserve the word "truth" for what you call "instrumental beliefs", and to refer to the other stuff as conventions, arrangements, policies, laws, tastes, or some such. It seems to be mostly a semantic difference.To which I reply:
You may think you do this while you are arguing your point here and now, but I doubt you really feel that way as you live your actual life. I daresay you hold at least some political and moral beliefs you would bet the house mortgage or even your life on, and when it comes to it instrumental beliefs never yield more substantial confidence than that even if one decides to be all drama diva about this confidence and claim it to be "certainty."
Be all that as it may, since there is no criterion of warrant that has selected as the best belief among those on offer a belief that has not subsequently been supplanted by another better belief, it is wrong to think instrumental beliefs are any less conventional than moral or political ones.
And let me be very clear about this: In making this claim I am not claiming that there is no external world, I am not claiming that beliefs are not beliefs about the world, I am not claiming that every belief is as good as every other belief, I am not claiming that every belief that is a well-warranted belief will be supplanted by later beliefs, I am not claiming that there is no basis for claiming some beliefs more reasonable than others.