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- Quee Nelson
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“Terrific. .The dialogues are great fun. I sat back and enjoyed it.” —William H. Shaw “Total devastation. Splendid book. An absolutely first class piece of work.” —Antony Flew Some say we can’t really know anything, unless we first irrationally accept some things blindly on faith. Is that true? And what is truth, anyway? Is objective truth a bankrupt notion, as postmodernists say? They also say observations are always theory-laden and everything is socially constructed, “including giraffes.” Of course, this means “all knowledge is essentially political,” and “science is best seen as a socially constructed discourse that legitimates its power by presenting itself as truth.” Worse than that, “there is no procedure called ‘turning to the facts’.there is no procedure of ‘justification in light of the facts’ which can be opposed to consilience of one’s own opinion with those of others.” Rather, “the notion of accurate representation is simply an automatic and empty compliment we pay to beliefs which help us to do what we want to do.”
Unfortunately, postmodernists didn’t get that way on account of ignoring the teachings of the Philosophy department, but on account of sincerely imbibing them. The terrible truth is that postmodernism is what happens when somebody who believes what he reads, reads the Philosophy canon. Avoiding technical jargon and presented in the form of a spirited dialogue between a professor and student, The Slightest Philosophy attacks what it sees as the real roots of postmodernism: the skeptical/anti-realist rut philosophy has been in since the eighteenth century. Opposing the canon from a position of naive realism, the book’s refutation of epistemological skepticism applies a method usually called abduction, or argument to the best explanation. The unexpected power of this pedestrian approach becomes apparent when it finally proves its mettle against philosophy’s scariest monsters, including the Cartesian Demon, the Brain in the Vat, the Problem of the Criterion, and Hume’s Riddle of Induction.
Along the way, The Slightest Philosophy also provides a snappy introduction to the central controversies in philosophy. Not only will it make you laugh, it also renders compelling the unavoidable questions too often made to seem obscure. Rarely has epistemology seemed so accessible as in the hands of a writer Antony Flew called “never dull.”