Fear of Knowledge, Against Relativism and Constructivism – By Paul Boghossian . Article (PDF Available) in dialectica 63(3) · September with 1, Reads. Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism. Paul Boghossian. Abstract. Relativist and constructivist conceptions of knowledge have become. : Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism ( ): Paul Boghossian: Books.

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That said, even though I’m wholly on board with his conclusions, I think rear the arguments go pretty quickly, and so if one were committed to a social constructivist position, and was so committed in a sophisticated way, I don’t think they wou I wish that I could give this a 3.

Here it seems that the standard Platonic objection to relativism applies with full force.

Essentialism in this vein reinscribes and traps people within the same categories from which reason promises escape. First, assume that our epistemic system is fundamentally different than the systems of Bellarmine and the Azande, in the sense that “their underived epistemic principles diverge from ours.

History of Western Philosophy. 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. In Chapter 7 ” The Paradox Resolved ” Boghossian addresses the ‘paradox’ constituted by the “seemingly compelling argument, based on the inevitable norm-circularity of justifications of our epistemic systems, for a form of relativism about epistemic judgments” in Chapter 5, coupled with our having seen in Knowwledge 6 “that such a relativism is riddled with seemingly insuperable problems.

It doesn’t make fun of relativism some books door sneer. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. If it visually seems to Galileo that there are mountains on the moon, then Galileo is justified in believing that there are mountains on the moon 85an epistemic principle will be more general, e.

By a ‘fundamental’ principle, I mean a principle whose correctness cannot be derived from the correctness of other epistemic principles. The presupposition shows not that the challenge is unintelligible, but rather that it contains within itself the seeds of its own resolution in reason’s favor.

Appealing to the various explanatory virtues of one theory over those of another, the constructivist can say that one is better than another. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.


Boghossian gives a cursory account of objectivity. Ultimately, I think that some of the volleys are more interesting and devastating than others, but that may have a lot to do with the changes in my sympathies to certain positions.

Much of the vocabulary of everyday discourse is vague, seemingly neither true nor false.

The author notes, among other problems, that constructivism confuses the idea of the description dependence of od with another idea, the social relativity of descriptions. Read this book if you are interested. Against Relativism and Constructivism.

Fear of Knowledge

Epistemic Reasons and the Explanation of Belief Epilogue. Puts to rest Rorty and Bloor’s postmodern relativism.

Feb 05, Justin Rock rated it it was ok Shelves: Difficult as these notions may be, it is a mistake to think that recent philosophy has uncovered powerful reasons for rejecting them. Yet, these thinkers along with Boghossian’s other whipping boy, Richard Rorty, who I can only guess is included as a rhetorical straw man are not typical po-mo targets. This is achieved using arguments from analytic philosophers such as Thomas Nagel.

Does it capture Rorty’s version? I would highly suggest it to those of a post modern persuasion, the view has major problems which the book brings out. 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. However, I think that post-modernism does have many good points that should be taken into account when trying to understand belief formation.

It’s important to understand counterviews and consider those views when designing research. Against Relativism and Constructivism on your Kindle in under a minute. Rather, propositions are only true because we construct them — and their truth.

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Aug 21, Siu Hong rated it it was amazing Shelves: Searle, New York Review of Books. But I think that, by and large, the arguments that Boghossian presents are interesting and important in coming to an understanding of or these positions are deeply problematic.

Boghossian also effectively challenges the idea labeled Encounterand offered knoeledge several formulations that if we encountered an actual, coherent, fundamental, genuine alternative to our own epistemic system, with a decent enough track record, we would not be able to justify ours over the encountered alternativeby pointing to the difficulty of actually finding such an alternative.


Perhaps all this is an irreconcilable paradox.

It is part of the concept of a mountain or dinosaur, he claims, that these things were not constructed. Boghossian’s version of the argument generates a regress for the relativist who embraces the second horn, and then claims that the regress is vicious–no one could grasp the content of any claim if relativism were true. There are many radically different, yet “equally valid” ways of knowing the world, with science being just one of them.

It’s lazy writing that undermines some great insight and some great ideas. Copernicanism is justified by Galileo’s observations relative to a system, Science, that I, the speaker, accept. Although I find the argument fascinating, Boghossian could not convince me in the end. It is much more sympathetic to relativism than other books opposing relativism, and more sophisticated.

Paul Boghossian – – Oxford University Press. Boghossian disposes of each of these in turn. It’s clear, and really pretty fair. But in fact this also means that cultural relativists must be prepared to defend problematic positions such as creationism, caste structures in Hinduism and Calvinist theories of predestination, etc If the fact that dinosaurs existed is a social construct, then our constructing it so makes it so; i.

It explains the basics of the topic using an interesting debate. The result is one of the most readable works in philosophy in recent years.

Fear of Knowledge – Paperback – Paul Boghossian – Oxford University Press

First, it tries very hard to be easy to understand, and to presume boghossina. Either way, according to the traditional argument, the case for relativism fails.

Boghossian raises the points that observation and self-evidency both factor into justifications and cannot easily be set aside. The dispute is ultimately one concerning alternative epistemic systems and their respective fundamental principles.

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