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Fear of Knowledge

Against Relativism and Constructivism

Paul Boghossian

Publication Date - 07 December 2007

ISBN: 9780199230419

160 pages

In Stock

Now in paperback--"One of the most readable works in philosophy in recent years" (Wall Street Journal)--a compact, devastating attack on relativism and constructivism


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.


"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

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

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