Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism / Edition 1

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Overview


Relativist and constructivist conceptions of truth and knowledge have become orthodoxy in vast stretches of the academic world in recent times. In his long-awaited first book, Paul Boghossian critically examines such views and exposes their fundamental flaws.

Boghossian focuses on three different ways of reading the claim that knowledge is socially constructed--one as a thesis about truth and two about justification. And he rejects all three. The intuitive, common-sense view is that there is a way the world is that is independent of human opinion; and that we are capable of arriving at beliefs about how it is that are objectively reasonable, binding on anyone capable of appreciating the relevant evidence regardless of their social or cultural perspective. Difficult as these notions may be, it is a mistake to think that philosophy has uncovered powerful reasons for rejecting them.

This short, lucid, witty book shows that philosophy provides rock-solid support for common sense against the relativists. It will prove provocative reading throughout the discipline and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

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.
From the Publisher

"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."--Nortre Dame Philosophical Review

"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, Times Literary Supplement

"This is a book that can be read in an afternoon and thought about for a lifetime."--Wall Street Journal

"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

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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: 773,375
  • 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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