Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge and Justification

Overview

This work, written from a neo-Pyrrhonian perspective, is an examination of contemporary theories of knowledge and justification. It takes ideas primarily found in Sextus Empiricus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism, restates them in a modern idiom, and then asks whether any contemporary theory of knowledge meets the challenges they raise. The first part, entitled "Gettier and the Problem of Knowledge," attempts to rescue our ordinary concept of knowledge from those philosophers who have assigned burdens to it that it ...

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Overview

This work, written from a neo-Pyrrhonian perspective, is an examination of contemporary theories of knowledge and justification. It takes ideas primarily found in Sextus Empiricus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism, restates them in a modern idiom, and then asks whether any contemporary theory of knowledge meets the challenges they raise. The first part, entitled "Gettier and the Problem of Knowledge," attempts to rescue our ordinary concept of knowledge from those philosophers who have assigned burdens to it that it cannot bear. Properly understood, Fogelin shows that the concept of knowledge is unproblematic. The second part of this study, called "Agrippa and the Problem of Justification," examines Agrippa's contribution to Pyrrhonism, a systematic reduction of its procedures which came to be known as the "Five Modes Leading to the Suspension of Belief." These modes present a completely general procedure for refuting any claim a dogmatist might make. Though largely unnoticed, there is, according to Fogelin, an uncanny resemblance between problems posed by Agrippa's "Five Modes" and those that contemporary epistemologists address under the heading of a theory of justification. Fogelin examines the strongest contemporary theories of justification—in both foundationalist and anti-foundationalist forms. The conclusion is that recent philosophical writings on justification have made no significant progress in responding to the Pyrrhonian problems these writings have addressed.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Many of Fogelin's criticisms of other views are undeniably interesting and incisive."—Times Literary Supplement

"Fogelin expertly cuts through volumes of details and qualifications so as to bring to life some of contemporary epistemology's most important problems and proposals. But the book is by no means valuable only as an introduction. Epistemologists will find Fogelin's characterizations and critiques of the field enlightening and his updated Pyrrhonism challenging."—nternational Philosophical Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195089875
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Philosophical Skepticism and Pyrrhonism 3
Ch. 1 Gettier Problems 15
Gettier's Formulation 15
Gettier's Reasons for Accepting His First Point 16
Gettier's Understanding of Justification 17
A Second Interpretation of Justification 18
The Gettier Problems and Nonmonotonicity 21
Variations on the Gettier Problems 23
Epistemic Responsibility 26
Ch. 2 Fourth-Clause Theories 31
Analyses of Knowledge 31
Indefeasibility Theories 33
Ch. 3 Externalism 41
The Attraction of Externalism 42
BonJour against the Reliabilists 43
Externalist Grounds 46
Goldman and Causal Theories of Knowing 49
The Move to the Subjunctive 54
Ch. 4 Subjunctivism and Subjunctivitis 61
Conclusive Reasons 61
Subjunctivism 66
Subjunctivitis 70
Subjunctive Conditionals and Possible Worlds 72
Nozick against the "Skeptics" 75
The Failure of Epistemic Closure 79
Nozick against the Skeptics 81
Dretske against Epistemic Closure 82
Ch. 5 Epistemic Grace 88
Justificatory Procedures 89
Doubts 90
Levels of Scrutiny 93
Is There a Fact of the Matter in Knowing? 95
It's Hard to Say 98
Appendix A. The Lottery Paradox and the Preface Paradox 102
The Lottery Paradox 102
The Preface Paradox 105
The Conjunction Principle for Knowledge 108
Ch. 6 Agrippa and the Problem of Epistemic Justification 113
The Problem 114
Success Conditions on Theories of Justification 117
Theories of Epistemic Justification 119
Ch. 7 Foundationalism 123
Forms of Foundationalism 123
Chisholm's Version of Foundationalism 124
Levels of Justification 125
Certainty and the Self-Presenting 129
Presumptions 132
The Transfer of Justification 134
Material Epistemic Principles 135
Ch. 8 Internal Coherentism 146
BonJour's Version of Coherentism 147
Standards of Coherence 148
Immediate Problems 149
The Doxastic Presumption 152
Standard Objections to Coherentism 154
Coherence and Observation 155
The Multiple-Choice Problem 158
Justification and Truth 159
An Assessment 162
Lehrer and the Isolation Objection 162
Ch. 9 External Coherentism 170
Davidson's Version of Coherentism 171
The Nature of Coherence 172
Truth 173
The Skeptical Challenge 174
Sensation and Belief 175
Meaning and Justification 176
The Fundamental Argument 176
The Golden Triangle 182
Davidson's Externalist Semantics 183
The Problem of Error 184
The Cartesian Skeptic's Reply 186
The Pyrrhonian Skeptic's Reply 188
Ch. 10 Pyrrhonism 192
Neo-Pyrrhonism 192
Again, Is There a Fact of the Matter in Knowing? 193
The Pyrrhonist's Use of Epistemic Terms 195
Is Skepticism Statable? 196
A Temporary Stopping Point 202
Appendix B. Two Wittgensteins 205
Turning Things Around 206
Holism 208
Publicity 211
Action 215
References 223
Index 231
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