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Paul Boghossian [47]Paul A. Boghossian [29]Paul Artin Boghossian [1]
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Paul Boghossian
New York University
  1. Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism.Paul Boghossian - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    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 (...)
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  2. What is Inference?Paul Boghossian - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (1):1-18.
    In some previous work, I tried to give a concept-based account of the nature of our entitlement to certain very basic inferences (see the papers in Part III of Boghossian 2008b). In this previous work, I took it for granted, along with many other philosophers, that we understood well enough what it is for a person to infer. In this paper, I turn to thinking about the nature of inference itself. This topic is of great interest in its own right (...)
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  3. The Rule-Following Considerations.Paul Boghossian - 1989 - Mind 98 (392):507-49.
    I. Recent years have witnessed a great resurgence of interest in the writings of the later Wittgenstein, especially with those passages roughly, Philosophical Investigations p)I 38 — 242 and Remarks on the Foundations of mathematics, section VI that are concerned with the topic of rules. Much of the credit for all this excitement, unparalleled since the heyday of Wittgenstein scholarship in the early IIJ6os, must go to Saul Kripke's I4rittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. It is easy to explain why. (...)
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  4. Color as a Secondary Quality.Paul A. Boghossian & J. David Velleman - 1989 - Mind 98 (January):81-103.
    Should a principle of charity be applied to the interpretation of the colour concepts exercised in visual experience? We think not. We shall argue, for one thing, that the grounds for applying a principle of charity are lacking in the case of colour concepts. More importantly, we shall argue that attempts at giving the experience of colour a charitable interpretation either fail to respect obvious features of that experience or fail to interpret it charitably, after all. Charity to visual experience (...)
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  5. Content and Self-Knowledge.Paul A. Boghossian - 1989 - Philosophical Topics 17 (1):5-26.
    This paper argues that, given a certain apparently inevitable thesis about content, we could not know our own minds. The thesis is that the content of a thought is determined by its relational properties.
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  6. Analyticity Reconsidered.Paul Boghossian - 1996 - Noûs 30 (3):360-391.
    This essay distinguishes between metaphysical and epistemological conceptions of analyticity. The former is the idea of a sentence that is ‘true purely in virtue of its meaning’ while the latter is the idea of a sentence that ‘can be justifiably believed merely on the basis of understanding its meaning’. It further argues that, while Quine may have been right to reject the metaphysical notion, the epistemological notion can be defended from his critique and put to work explaining a priori justification. (...)
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  7. The Normativity of Content.Paul A. Boghossian - 2003 - Philosophical Issues 13 (1):31-45.
    It is very common these days to come across the claim that the notions of mental content and linguistic meaning are normative notions. In the work of many philosophers, it plays a pivotal role. Saul Kripke made it the centerpiece of his influential discussion of Wittgenstein’s treatment of rulefollowing and private language; he used it to argue that the notions of meaning and content cannot be understood in naturalistic terms. Kripke’s formulations tend to be in terms of the notion of (...)
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  8. Blind Reasoning.Paul Boghossian - 2003 - Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 77 (1):225-248.
    The paper asks under what conditions deductive reasoning transmits justification from its premises to its conclusion. It argues that both standard externalist and standard internalist accounts of this phenomenon fail. The nature of this failure is taken to indicate the way forward: basic forms of deductive reasoning must justify by being instances of 'blind but blameless' reasoning. Finally, the paper explores the suggestion that an inferentialist account of the logical constants can help explain how such reasoning is possible.
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  9. Blind Reasoning.Paul A. Boghossian - 2003 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77 (1):225–248.
    The paper asks under what conditions deductive reasoning transmits justification from its premises to its conclusion. It argues that both standard externalist and standard internalist accounts of this phenomenon fail. The nature of this failure is taken to indicate the way forward: basic forms of deductive reasoning must justify by being instances of ‘blind but blameless’ reasoning. Finally, the paper explores the suggestion that an inferentialist account of the logical constants can help explain how such reasoning is possible.
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  10. Epistemic Rules.Paul A. Boghossian - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (9):472-500.
    According to a very natural picture of rational belief, we aim to believe only what is true. However, as Bernard Williams used to say, the world does not just inscribe itself onto our minds. Rather, we have to try to figure out what is true from the evidence available to us. To do this, we rely on a set of epistemic rules that tell us in some general way what it would be most rational to believe under various epistemic circumstances. (...)
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  11. New Essays on the A Priori.Paul Artin Boghossian & Christopher Peacocke (eds.) - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
    A stellar line-up of leading philosophers from around the world offer new treatments of a topic which has long been central to philosophical debate, and in ...
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  12. How Are Objective Epistemic Reasons Possible?Paul A. Boghossian - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 106 (1):1-40.
    Epistemic relativism has the contemporary academy in its grip. Not merely in the United States, but seemingly everywhere, most scholars working in the humanities and the social sciences seem to subscribe to some form of it. Even where the label is repudiated, the view is embraced. Sometimes the relativism in question concerns truth, sometimes justification. The core impulse appears to be a relativism about knowledge. The suspicion is widespread that what counts as knowledge in one cultural, or broadly ideological, setting (...)
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  13.  14
    Content and Justification: Philosophical Papers.Paul A. Boghossian - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume presents a series of influential essays by Paul Boghossian on the theory of content and on its relation to the phenomenon of a priori knowledge. The essays are organized under four headings: the nature of content; content and self-knowledge; knowledge, content, and the a priori; and colour concepts.
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  14.  65
    Debating the a Priori.Paul Boghossian & Timothy Williamson - 2020 - Oxford University Press.
    The book records a series of philosophical exchanges between its authors, amounting to a debate extended over more than fifteen years. Its subject matter is the nature and scope of reason. A central case at issue is basic logical knowledge, and the justification for basic deductive inferences, but the arguments range far more widely, at stake the distinctions between analytic and synthetic, and between a priori and a posteriori. The discussion naturally involves problems about the conditions for linguistic understanding and (...)
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  15. The Status of Content.Paul A. Boghossian - 1990 - Philosophical Review 99 (2):157-84.
    An irrealist conception of a given region of discourse is the view that no real properties answer to the central predicates of the region in question. Any such conception emerges, invariably, as the result of the interaction of two forces. An account of the meaning of the central predicates, along with a conception of the sorts of property the world may contain, conspire to show that, if the predicates of the region are taken to express properties, their extensions would have (...)
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  16.  56
    Knowledge of Logic.Paul Boghossian - 2000 - In Paul Boghossian & Christopher Peacocke (eds.), New Essays on the A Priori.
    Paul Boghossian defends a meaning‐based approach to the apriority of the propositions of logic. His model is based on the idea that the logical constants are implicitly defined by some of the axioms and inference rules in which they are involved, thereby offering an alternative to those theories that deny that grasp of meaning can contribute to the explanation of a thinker's entitlement to a particular type of transition or belief.
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  17. Is Meaning Normative?Paul Boghossian - 2005 - In Nimtz Christian & Beckermann Ansgar (eds.), Philosophy – Science – Scientific Philosophy. Main Lectures and Colloquia of GAP.5, Fifth International Congress of the Society for Analytical Philosophy, Bielefeld, 22–26 September 2003. Paperborn. pp. 205-218.
    The claim that meaning is a normative notion has become very influential in recent philosophy: in the work of many philosophers it plays a pivotal role. Although one can trace the idea of the normativity of meaning at least as far back as Kant, much of the credit for its recent influence must go to Saul Kripke who made the thesis a centerpiece of his much-admired treatment of Wittgenstein’s discussion of rule-following and private language....
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  18. What the Externalist Can Know A Priori.Paul Boghossian - 1997 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 97 (2):161-75.
    Compatibilism combines an externalist view of mental content with a doctrine of privileged self‐knowledge. The essay presents a reductio of compatibilism by arguing that if compatibilism were true, we would be in a position to know certain facts about the world a priori, facts that no one can reasonably believe are knowable a priori. Whether this should be taken to cast doubt on externalism or privileged self‐knowledge is not discussed. Consideration is given to the ’empty case’—the case in which a (...)
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  19. Physicalist Theories of Color.Paul A. Boghossian & J. David Velleman - 1991 - Philosophical Review 100 (January):67-106.
    The dispute between realists about color and anti-realists is actually a dispute about the nature of color properties. The disputants do not disagree over what material objects are like. Rather, they disagree over whether any of the uncontroversial facts about material objects--their powers to cause visual experiences, their dispositions to reflect incident light, their atomic makeup, and so on--amount to their having colors. The disagreement is thus about which properties colors are and, in particular, whether colors are any of the (...)
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  20. Three Kinds of Relativism.Paul Boghossian - 2011 - In Steven Hales (ed.), A Companion to Relativism. Blackwell.
    The paper looks at three big ideas that have been associated with the term “relativism.” The first maintains that some property has a higher-degree than might have been thought. The second that the judgments in a particular domain of discourse are capable only of relative truth and not of absolute truth And the third, which I dub with the oxymoronic label “absolutist relativism,” seeks to locate relativism in our acceptance of certain sorts of spare absolutist principles. -/- The first idea (...)
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  21. Williamson on the A Priori and the Analytic. [REVIEW]Paul Boghossian - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):488-497.
    This essay criticizes Williamson’s attempt, in his book, The Philosophy of Philosophy, to undermine the interest of the a priori–a posteriori distinction. Williamson’s argument turns on several large claims. The first is that experience often plays a role intermediate between evidential and merely enabling, and that this poses a difficulty for giving a theoretically satisfying account of the distinction. The second is that there are no constitutive understanding–assent links. Both of these claims are subjected to detailed scrutiny. In particular, it (...)
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  22. The Transparency of Mental Content.Paul A. Boghossian - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:33-50.
    I believe that the notion of epistemic transparency does play an important role in our ordinary conception of mental content and I want to say what that role is. Unfortunately, the task is a large one; here I am able only to begin on its outline. I shall proceed somewhat indirectly, beginning with a discussion of externalist conceptions of mental content. I shall show that such conceptions violate epistemic transparency to an extent that has not been fully appreciated. Subsequently, I (...)
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  23. Delimiting the Boundaries of Inference.Paul Boghossian - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):55-69.
    In this short essay, I tackle, yet again, the question of the nature of inference and elaborate on the agential conception of inference that I've been pursuing (Boghossian 2014, 2016 and forthcoming). What's new in this essay is a better way of setting up the issue about the na- ture of inference; a better identification of the concerns that lie at the back of this way of thinking about the topic; and a response to some important criticisms that have been (...)
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  24. What the Externalist Can Know A Priori.Paul Boghossian - 1998 - Philosophical Issues 9:197-211.
    Compatibilism combines an externalist view of mental content with a doctrine of privileged self‐knowledge. The essay presents a reductio of compatibilism by arguing that if compatibilism were true, we would be in a position to know certain facts about the world a priori, facts that no one can reasonably believe are knowable a priori. Whether this should be taken to cast doubt on externalism or privileged self‐knowledge is not discussed. Consideration is given to the ’empty case’—the case in which a (...)
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  25. What is Relativism?Paul Boghossian - 2006 - In Patrick Greenough & Michael P. Lynch (eds.), Truth and Relativism. Clarendon Press. pp. 13--37.
    Many philosophers, however, have been tempted to be relativists about specific domains of discourse, especially about those domains that have a normative character. Gilbert Harman, for example, has defended a relativistic view of morality, Richard Rorty a relativistic view of epistemic justification, and Crispin Wright a relativistic view of judgments of taste.¹ But what exactly is it to be a relativist about a given domain of discourse? The term ‘‘relativism’’ has, of course, been used in a bewildering variety of senses (...)
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  26. Epistemic Analyticity: A Defense.Paul A. Boghossian - 2003 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 66 (1):15-35.
    The paper is a defense of the project of explaining the a priori via the notion of meaning or concept possession. It responds to certain objections that have been made to this project—in particular, that there can be no epistemically analytic sentences that are not also metaphysically analytic, and that the notion of implicit definition cannot explain a priori entitlement. The paper goes on to distinguish between two different ways in which facts about meaning might generate facts about entitlement—inferential and (...)
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  27. Externalism and Inference.Paul A. Boghossian - 1992 - Philosophical Issues 2:11-28.
    The question I want to look at in this paper is this: To what extent does an externalist conception of mental content threaten our ability to know the contents of our thoughts? I shall argue that, in an important sense, externalism is inconsistent with the thesis that we have authoritative first-person knowledge of thought content: in particular, I shall argue, it is inconsistent with the thesis that our thought contents are epistemically transparent to us. I shall further argue that this (...)
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  28. Précis of Fear of Knowledge.Paul Boghossian - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (3):377-378.
    Fear of Knowledge was in many ways an exercise in foolhardiness. It was to be a short book, accessible to the general reader, that would treat some of the trickiest issues in the foundations theory of knowledge, but that would nevertheless not seriously shortchange the subtleties that they involve. Someone should have warned me.
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  29. Inference and Insight. [REVIEW]Paul Boghossian - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (3):633–640.
    All of us are disposed to reason according to the rule of inference modus ponens : from.
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  30.  35
    Wittgenstein on Meaning. [REVIEW]Paul A. Boghossian - 1989 - Philosophical Review 98 (1):83.
    Review of Wittgenstein on Meaning by Colin McGinn.
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  31. Reasoning and Reflection: A Reply to Kornblith.Paul Boghossian - 2016 - Analysis 76 (1):41-54.
    Hilary Kornblith’s book is motivated by the conviction that philosophers have tended to overvalue and overemphasize reflection in their accounts of central philosophical phenomena. He seeks to pinpoint this tendency and to correct it. -/- Kornblith’s claim is not without precedent. It is an oft-repeated theme of 20th-century philosophy that philosophers have tended to give ‘overly intellectualized’ accounts of important phenomena. One thinks here of Wittgenstein, Ryle and many others. -/- One version of this charge is that philosophers have tended (...)
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  32. Inferentialism and the Epistemology of Logic: Reflections on Casalegno and Williamson.Paul Boghossian - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (2):221-236.
    This essay attempts to clarify the project of explaining the possibility of ‘blind reasoning’—namely, of basic logical inferences to which we are entitled without our having an explicit justification for them. The role played by inferentialism in this project is examined and objections made to inferentialism by Paolo Casalegno and Timothy Williamson are answered. Casalegno proposes a recipe for formulating a counterexample to any proposed constitutive inferential role by imaging a subject who understands the logical constant in question but fails (...)
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  33.  13
    Naturalizing Content.Paul A. Boghossian - 1991 - In Barry M. Loewer & Georges Rey (eds.), Meaning in Mind: Fodor and His Critics. Blackwell.
    The conviction that intentional realism requires intentional reductionism has the philosophy of mind in its grip. Thus, Jerry Fodor: .... It is worth noting — if only because it so seldom is nowadays — that this rationale for the naturalistic conviction begs a question that doesn't obviously deserve to be begged. Why, indeed, must we think that no property can be real unless it is identical with, or supervenient upon, the properties that appear in the catalogues provided by physics? There (...)
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  34.  25
    Inference and Insight. [REVIEW]Paul Boghossian - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (3):633-640.
    Review of In Defense of Pure Reason by Laurence Bonjour.
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  35. Rules, Meaning and Intention – Discussion. [REVIEW]Paul A. Boghossian - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 124 (2):185-197.
    Review of Philip Pettit’s Rules, Reasons and Norms.
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  36.  23
    Blind Rule-Following.Paul A. Boghossian - 2012 - In Crispin Wright & Annalisa Coliva (eds.), Mind, Meaning, and Knowledge: Themes From the Philosophy of Crispin Wright. Oxford University Press. pp. 27-48.
    In this chapter a new problem about rule-following is outlined, one that is distinct both from Kripke’s and Wright’s versions of the problem. This new problem cannot be correctly responsed to, as Kripke’s can, by invoking Wright’s Intentional Account of rule-following. The upshot might be called, following Kant, an antinomy of pure reason: we both must — and cannot — make sense of someone’s following a rule. The chapter explores various ways out of this antinomy without here endorsing any of (...)
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  37. What the Sokal Hoax Ought to Teach Us.Paul Boghossian - 1996 - Times Literary Supplement.
    The essay explores the meaning and implications of Alan Sokal’s hoax on the editors of Social Text. It examines the role that relativist/postmodernist views about knowledge may have played in that episode, and briefly explores the cogency of such conceptions.
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  38. Virtuous Intuitions: Comments on Lecture 3 of Ernest Sosa’s A Virtue Epistemology.Paul Boghossian - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (1):111-119.
    I agree with Sosa that intuitions are best thought of as attractions to believe a certain proposition merely on the basis of understanding it. However, I don't think it is constitutive of them that they supply strictly foundational justification for the propositions they justify, though I do believe that it is important that the intuition of a suitable subject be thought of as a prima facie justification for his intuitive judgment, independently of the reliability of his underlying capacities. I also (...)
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  39. Inferential Role Semantics and the Analytic/Synthetic Distinction.Paul A. Boghossian - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 73 (2-3):109-122.
    This is a critical discussion of Jerry Fodor and Ernie Lepore's "Holism". The paper questions the existence of a slippery slope from some inferential liaisons are constitutive of meaning' to all inferential liaisons are constitutive of meaning'. "Interalia", it defends the existence of an analytic/synthetic distinction.
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  40. What is Social Construction?Paul A. Boghossian - 2001 - TLS.
    The core idea seems clear enough. To say of something that it is socially constructed is to emphasize its dependence on contingent aspects of our social selves. It is to say: This thing could not have existed had we not built it; and we need not have built it at all, at least not in its present form. Had we been a different kind of society, had we had different needs, values, or interests, we might well have built a different (...)
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  41.  78
    Relativism About Morality.Paul Boghossian - 2017 - In Katharina Neges, Josef Mitterer, Sebastian Kletzl & Christian Kanzian (eds.), Realism - Relativism - Constructivism: Proceedings of the 38th International Wittgenstein Symposium in Kirchberg. De Gruyter. pp. 301-312.
    Many philosophers and non-philosophers are attracted to the view that moral truths are relative to moral framework or culture. I distinguish between two versions of such a view. I argue that one version is coherent but not plausible, and I argue that the second one can’t be made sense of. The upshot is that we have to make sense of at least some objective moral truths.
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  42. The Transparency of Mental Content Revisited. [REVIEW]Paul Boghossian - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (3):457-465.
  43. Philosophy Without Intuitions? A Reply to Cappelen.Paul Boghossian - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (4):368-381.
    Herman Cappelen (2012) has written a book that's devoted to arguing against the following claim: Centrality (of Intuitions in Contemporary Philosophy): Contemporary analytic philosophers rely on intuitions as evidence (or as a source of evidence) for philosophical theories. In arguing against Centrality, Cappelen is not making a normative claim: that although philosophers rely on intuitions, they ought not to. He's not making a metaphysical claim to the effect that there are no intuitions, hence none that philosophers can rely on to (...)
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  44.  10
    The Status of Content Revisited.Paul A. Boghossian - 1990 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 71 (December):264-278.
    This paper argues that Devitt’s arguments in "Transcendentalism About Content" don’t show how to answer the challenge I laid down in "Status Of Content". I proceed as follows. I begin by looking at why I didn’t formulate content eliminativism in the way that Devitt does, and why I did formulate it as the thesis of “content irrealism.” I then show in detail why his criticisms are off-target.
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  45. Our Grasp of the Concept of Truth: Reflections on Künne.Paul Boghossian - 2010 - Dialectica 64 (4):553-563.
    Wolfgang Künne's Conceptions of Truth (2003) is a magnificent achievement. Wonderfully clear, erudite, compendious, honest and insightful on some very tricky issues – these are some of its many virtues. I have benefited a great deal from studying it. In this short note, I will concentrate on Künne's own positive proposal about the concept of truth, his modestly named ‘Modest Account’. I will raise some questions about its ultimate viability.
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  46. The Case Against Epistemic Relativism: Replies to Rosen and Neta.Paul A. Boghossian - 2007 - Episteme 4 (1):49-65.
    Unlike the relativistic theses drawn from physics, normative relativisms involve relativization not to frames of reference but to something like our standards, standards that we have to be able to think of ourselves as endorsing or accepting. Th us, moral facts are to be relativized to moral standards and epistemic facts to epistemic standards. But a moral standard in this sense would appear to be just a general moral proposition and an epistemic standard just a general epistemic proposition. Pulling off (...)
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  47. Replies to Wright, MacFarlane and Sosa.Paul A. Boghossian - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (3):409-432.
    The main impetus for my book came from the widespread acceptance of relativistic views about truth and knowledge within the Academy, especially within the humanities and the humanistic social sciences. In its introductory sections, though, I noted that there is one discipline within the humanities in which the influence of relativistic views is quite weak—namely, within analytic philosophy itself. Ironically, no sooner had the ink dried on the final version of my manuscript sometime in mid-2005—although, of course it had been (...)
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  48. Seeking The Real.Paul A. Boghossian - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 108 (1):223-238.
    A critical discussion of Barry Stroud's claim, in his book "The Quest for Reality", that we could never rationally arrive at the conclusion that, for example, the world is not really colored.
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  49.  93
    Rationality, Reasoning and Rules: Reflections on Broome’s Rationality Through Reasoning.Paul Boghossian - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3385-3397.
    The paper provides a critical discussion of some key aspects of John Broome’s theories of rationality, reasoning and the relations between them.
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  50. On Hearing the Music in the Sound: Scruton on Musical Expression.Paul A. Boghossian - 2002 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (1):49–55.
    The fact that we can hear a particular passage of music as expressing a “tranquil gratitude” is a central aspect of the phenomenology of musical experience; without it we would be hard pressed to explain how purely instrumental music could move us in the way that it does. The trouble, here as so often elsewhere in philosophy, is that what seems necessary also seems impossible: for how could a mere series of nonlinguistic sounds, however lovely, express a state of mind? (...)
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