What’s Epistemology Got to Do with It?

The “Death of Epistemology” in African American Studies
  • Stephen C. FergusonII
Part of the African American Philosophy and the African Diaspora book series (AAPAD)


As critical realist Roy Bhaskar notes, truth is both simple and complex.1 Many philosophical tomes have been written in search of the eternal question, what is truth? German irrationalist Friedrich Nietzsche famously described truth as a “mobile army of metaphors.”2 By which he meant that truth is nothing more than an illusion. Following Nietzsche, it has become commonplace in our time, a fixed prejudice if you will, to hear that “truth” no longer exists. Similar ideas have enjoyed a considerable vogue among the contemporary postpositivist crowd. Whether it is the pragmatist, anti-foundationalist or a consensus-based theory of knowledge, the mantra heard in the halls of academia, and even in the political arena is: “truth” is a matter of the values and beliefs that prevail among members of an interpretive community.3 The search for objective truth is a philosophers dream, which results from an obsession with Cartesian certainty in the face of historical change. As the American television comedian Stephen Colbert would mockingly say, all we have is truthiness, unfiltered by rational argument. There is no longer any need to live under the positivist illusions about scientific knowledge, objectivity and the like. What is “true” depends on who is speaking and in what context. What matters is who is saying what, not necessarily what is said.


Black Woman Race Relation Objective Truth Correspondence Theory African American Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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