Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism

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Clarendon Press, Feb 23, 2006 - Philosophy - 152 pages
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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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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

This book provides a clear argument against the most extreme forms of social constructivism, but it might be good to have some prior knowledge of this debate. I liked the book but I was a bit ... Read full review

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User Review  - willyt - LibraryThing

The purpose of this book is to present arguments against different forms of relativism and constructivism, which I believe the author does a good job in doing. The book is written for someone with some background in understanding philosophical arguments. Read full review

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References to this book

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John Gibson
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About the author (2006)

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

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