Biography:Paul Boghossian

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Short description: American philosopher
Paul Boghossian
Paul boghossian 2 (cropped).png
Boghossian in 2008
Paul Artin Boghossian
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language
Notable ideas
Metaphysical analyticity as the claim that the truth of a statement is dependent on meaning alone, without any contribution from the facts[1]

Paul Artin Boghossian (/bəˈɡziən/; born 1957) is an American philosopher. He is Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University, where he is chair of the department (having also held the position from 1994 to 2004).[2] His research interests include epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He is also director of the New York Institute of Philosophy and Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham.[3]

Education and career

Boghossian is of Armenian ancestry.[4]

Boghossian earned his B.S. in physics at Trent University in 1976,[5] and his Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton University in 1987. In addition to his position at NYU, he was a professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor from 1984 until 1992, and has also been a visiting professor at Princeton University. He has held research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Magdalen College, Oxford, the University of London, and the Australian National University, and is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities. He is on the editorial board of the journals Philosophical Studies and Philosophers' Imprint. As chair of the NYU philosophy department from 1994 to 2004, Boghossian built the NYU program into one of the top philosophy programs in the world.[6] In postmodern circles, Boghossian is known for his response to the Sokal hoax.[7]

Boghossian also serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the World Knowledge Dialogue Foundation.[8]

His book Fear of Knowledge won a Choice Award as an outstanding Academic Book of 2006.

In 2012, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[9]

Philosophical work

In his early work, Boghossian criticized naturalistic theories of content.

Much of his later work, including his book Fear of Knowledge, criticizes various forms of relativism, especially epistemic relativism, which claims that knowledge and reason are fundamentally cultural or subjective rather than objective.

In his article "Blind Reasoning", Boghossian argues that we are blind to our reasons for justifying our methods of inference (the epitome of a method of inference is taken to be modus ponens). Rejecting both Simple Inferential Externalism for its inconsistency and Simple Inferential Internalism because it is difficult to accept, he opts for a third and new form of "rational insight". This paper, in conjunction with an ongoing correspondence between Boghossian and Crispin Wright, is part of a project to defend against epistemic relativism.

Selected publications



  • "How Are Objective Epistemic Reasons Possible?" in Philosophical Studies, Dec 2001, pp. 340–380.
  • "Inference and Insight," in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, November, 2001, pp. 633–641.
  • "On Hearing the Music in the Sound," in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (2002).
  • "The Gospel of Relaxation" (review of The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand), The New Republic, September 2001.
  • "What is Social Construction?" in Times Literary Supplement, February 23, 2001, pp. 6–8.
  • New Essays on the A Priori (co-edited with Christopher Peacocke), Oxford University Press 2000.
  • "Knowledge of Logic," in New Essays on the A Priori, Oxford University Press 2000.
  • "Analyticity," in Bob Hale and Crispin Wright (eds.): The Philosophy of Language (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1997), pp. 331–368.


See also

Notes and references

  1. Nicolyn Liebenberg, "Analyticity: Boghossian on Quine", M.A. thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, 2010, p. 53.
  2. "Department of Philosophy Administrative Officers". 
  3. "Archived staff profiles - College of Arts and Law - University of Birmingham". 
  4. An Interview with Paul Boghossian, Khatchig Mouradian Aztag Daily.
  5. Professor Paul Boghossian Profil on University of Birmingham.
  6. Kirp, D. (2009) Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education, p.77
  7. Boghossian, Paul (1996-12-13). "What the Sokal hoax ought to teach us". Times Literary Supplement: pp. 13–14. 
  8. The World Knowledge Dialogue Foundation has a new Scientific Board, 16 July 2007
  9. American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2012 Fellows (and their affiliations at the time of election)
  10. Blackburn, S. (2006). PHILOSOPHY - Fear of Knowledge - Against relativism and constructivism - Paul Boghossian. Times Literary Supplement, January 1, 5396, 23