Editor's note: This paper was read at the fourth annual University of Dayton Philosophy Colloquium, held in 1974.

Throughout the ages, philosophers seem to have attempted to steer a course between the Scylla of dogmatism and the Charybdis of relativism or skepticism. Perhaps this course has been stormy because philosophical dogmatism and the making of ontological and evaluative commitments can be easily caricatured into closed-mindedness. On the other hand, the relativism sometimes implicit in the jargon of philosophical neutrality threatens to collapse Sophia into sophistry. My solution to the problem of philosophical neutrality rests on three theses, the substantiation of which is the purpose of this paper:

(1) Both an absolute philosophical neutrality and an absolute philosophical commitment seem incapable of rational justification.

(2) Since absolute commitment and neutrality seem unjustifiable, the only viable position open to the philosopher is relative philosophical commitment and relative philosophical neutrality. This position can be elucidated in terms of what Allport calls “open-ended” but “whole-hearted” commitment.

(3) Four specific criteria, focusing on the concepts of consistency, completeness, presupposition, and implication, can be used to ascertain the merits of relative neutrality and commitment with respect to various ontological or evaluational issues.

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