In doing so, Boghossian explains the ideological i. In Chapter 2, The Social Construction of Knowledge, Boghossian defines what it means for our beliefs to count as knowledge; he states that a thinker S knows p iff: 1. S believes p 2. S is justified in believing p 3. In Chapter 3, Constructing the Facts, Boghossian argues that, in the picture of fact constructivism, "our concepts work like cookie cutters: they carve the world up into facts by drawing boundaries" p.

Author:Nisho Kagasida
Language:English (Spanish)
Published (Last):6 May 2016
PDF File Size:10.92 Mb
ePub File Size:13.19 Mb
Price:Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]

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

Relativism, he tells us, is the proposition that there are no absolute facts about justification. If a belief is true, the corresponding fact of that belief holds for everyone. In Fear of Knowledge, Paul Boghossian tears these relativist theories of knowledge to shreds. Refresh and try again. He seems to make his case and arguments much more complicated than he could have made them. Wittgenstein and the Groundlessness of Our Believing. First things first, the book boghoxsian not a bad book.


Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism

Difficult as these boghozsian may be, it is a mistake to think that recent philosophy has uncovered powerful reasons for rejecting them. Hence science becomes equalised with the witchcraft systems of the Azande. He says that these 3 problems devastate constructivism so that the only way to maintain the thesis is to adopt some form of relativism. The Poverty of Constructivism. No trivia or quizzes yet. Will we have shown anything substantive; could we really claim to have demonstrated that our principles are correct, and theirs not?



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. Such social constructivist conceptions of knowledge are addressed in Chapter 2. Boghossian contrasts them with what he calls "The Classical Picture of Knowledge," according to which 1 "The world which we seek to understand and know about is what it is largely independently of us and our beliefs about it" "Objectivism about Facts" , 2 "Facts of the Form -- information E justifies belief B -- are society-independent facts" "Objectivism about Justification" , and 3 "Under the appropriate circumstances, our exposure to the evidence alone is capable of explaining why we believe what we believe" "Objectivism about Rational Explanation". They are the subjects of the rest of the chapters.

Related Articles