What Boghossian presents is a well-timed argument against the spectre of constructivism in traditional philosophic studies. Philosophy, as a field of study, has largely avoided the relentless onslaught of relativistic thinking; unlike some other areas in the humanities, philosophy has resisted such passing, cyclical intellectual fads. Yet, there have been attempted breaches by constructivist theories, and it is to the proponents of such theories that this book is directed. In particular, Boghossian directs his attention at analytic philosophers such as Nelson Goodman or Hilary Putnam: both well-respected titans within their fields.
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What Boghossian presents is a well-timed argument against the spectre of constructivism in traditional philosophic studies. Philosophy, as a field of study, has largely avoided the relentless onslaught of relativistic thinking; unlike some other areas in the humanities, philosophy has resisted such passing, cyclical intellectual fads.
Yet, there have been attempted breaches by constructivist theories, and it is to the proponents of such theories that this book is directed. In particular, Boghossian directs his attention at analytic philosophers such as Nelson Goodman or Hilary Putnam: both well-respected titans within their fields. Forget your Koertge-style surveys of unintellectual intellectuals like Derrida, Irigaray, or Kristeva From arguments agains moral expressivism and I am a quasi-realist to category mistakes that arise when conflating Millean and Fregean conceptions of propositional content, Boghossian avoids the politicizing, rhetorical flourishes, and wolf-crying of other diatribes against relativism.
In sum, this is a book by a philosopher, about philosophy, and written for those who wish to take the philosophical high-road against the inanity of constructivism.
That makes the book wonderfully This books is part of the recent wave of anti-relativist, anti-constructivist, anti-pomo works by philosophers aimed at a general audience. That makes the book wonderfully short you can easily read it on a flight from coast to coast and the arguments punchy. Why is relativism, even the most implausible, factual variety, so weirdly compelling?
Boghossian says that relativism is the dominant outlook in all academic disciplines except philosophy, but I think it has a significant, if shadowy, following throughout philosophy. Radical contextualists in the philosophy of language adhere to some mildly concealed form of relativism about facts. According to Boghossian, the explanation for the appeal of relativism is mainly just confusion and belief in bad arguments. That hardly seems adequate.
Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism Paul Boghossian Abstract Relativist and constructivist conceptions of knowledge have become orthodoxy in vast stretches of the academic world in recent times. This book critically examines such views and argues that they are fundamentally flawed. The book focuses on three different ways of reading the claim that knowledge is socially constructed, one about facts and two about justification. All three are rejected. The intuitive, common sense view is that there is a way things are that is independent of human opinion, and that we are capable of arriving at belief about how things are that is objectively reasonable, and
Fear of Knowledge
Reviewed by Harvey Siegel, University of Miami Fear of Knowledge starts out as an engaging, breezy critique of relativism and constructivism. Focusing to a considerable extent on the work of Richard Rorty, Boghossian carefully articulates the target relativist and constructivist views and the arguments for and against them, on the way to equally careful statements of the views and the arguments for them that he favors. That critique is powerful and on the whole highly effective. The relative neglect of that literature and the occasionally questionable treatment of it when addressed makes the book somewhat less helpful to specialists than it will be to those seeking an effective antidote to Rortian postmodernist relativism.
Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism
Table of Contents Description 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. Reviews "This is a book that can be read in an afternoon and thought about for a lifetime.
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