Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism / Edition 1

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Overview

The idea that science is just one more way of knowing the world and that there are other, radically different, yet equally valid ways, has taken deep root in academia. In Fear of Knowledge, Paul Boghossian tears these relativist theories of knowledge to shreds. He argues forcefully for the intuitive, common-sense view—that the world exists independent of human opinion and that there is a way to arrive at beliefs about the world that are objectively reasonable to anyone capable of appreciating the relevant evidence, regardless of their social or cultural perspective. This short, lucid, witty book shows that philosophy provides rock-solid support for common sense against the relativists; it is provocative reading throughout the discipline and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a book that can be read in an afternoon and thought about for a lifetime. His analysis is something of a tour de force: subtle and original enough to attract the attention of professional philosophers but accessible enough to be read by anyone with an interest in the subject. The result is one of the most readable works in philosophy in recent years."—Wall Street Journal

"The book does a fine job of assessing in brief compass the sort of relativism/constructivism advocated by Rorty and his fellow travelers, and Boghossian's sophisticated and careful arguments against that Rortian view are often ingenious and invariably telling. Aimed at non-specialists, Fear of Knowledge may well succeed in distancing those who are enamored of 'postmodern relativism'. . . from their postmodern enthusiasms."—Harvey Siegel, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Boghossian has written an excellent book.... it contains relentless exposures of confusion, falsehood, and incoherence."—John R. Searle, New York Review of Books

Notre Dame Philosophical Review
The book offers a sustained critique of a particular, postmodern-flavored, Rorty-inspired version of relativism/constructivism. That critique is powerful and on the whole highly effective.
Times Literary Supplement
Lucid and effective...For those prepared to follow its careful and sensible arguments, Fear of Knowledge should be a welcome addition to the literature.
—Simon Blackburn
Wall Street Journal
This is a book that can be read in an afternoon and thought about for a lifetime.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199230419
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/7/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 148
  • Sales rank: 817,440
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Boghossian is Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The Social Construction of Knowledge
3. Constructing the Facts
4. Relativizing the Facts
5. Epistemic Relativism Defended
6. Epistemic Relativism Rejected
7. The Paradox Resolved
8. Epistemic Reasons and the Explanation of Belief
Epilogue

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