Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Kristina Gehrman

Committee Members

Kristina Gehrman, Jon Garthoff, Clerk Shaw, Megan Bryson


This dissertation examines an argument that John McDowell’s view is structurally analogous to Protagoreanism, and that arguments structurally analogous to Plato’s arguments against Protagoreanism apply to McDowell’s view. Through philosophical investigation, the dissertation shows that Plato’s arguments do not perfectly apply to McDowell’s view, but that the view nevertheless is unable to address the metastasized problem of constraint. The metastasized problem of constraint arises in at least two kinds of circumstances: situations where cultural relativism is a concern, and situations where there is pressure to adapt to unforeseeable natural developments.

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Included in

Metaphysics Commons