Truth and the social construction of knowledge: Logical fallacies in the affirmative action debate
Issues of inequality transcend the realm of public policy. Since Socrates, philosophers have sought to describe, explicate, analyze, and rationalize those socio-economic asymmetries which have characterized all known societies. As one reviews various philosophical schools of thought, however, it becomes clear that the issue of inequality has, for the most part, been contexted within the framework of ethics. That is, philosophers have sought to ascertain that which constitutes the just and the good within human relationships. A number of modern philosophers have, however, expanded the nature of societal inequalities beyond the realm of ethics and into the areas of epistemology. More specifically, these philosophers have logically related inequality and the process by which knowledge is "produced" and distributed. More succinctly, such philosophers claim that knowledge is, under conditions of inequality, socially constructed. This study analyzes such a proposition by examining intellectual discourse regarding affirmative action. Preliminary to such an analysis is, of course, a descriptive review of the philosophical thought regarding issues of inequality and knowledge.