Scepticism

Overview

Scepticism as a philosophical term is as old as the Greeks but has more recently been advanced by Montaigne, Descartes and Hume. To these, what little we know that seems certain is based on observation and habit as opposed to any logical or scientific necessity. Thus, sceptical views relate directly to epistemology—the theory of knowledge and what we can know—and, in the modern turbulent world, it is grayling's contention that these are issues that all contemporary people need to focus on. In seeking ...

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Overview

Scepticism as a philosophical term is as old as the Greeks but has more recently been advanced by Montaigne, Descartes and Hume. To these, what little we know that seems certain is based on observation and habit as opposed to any logical or scientific necessity. Thus, sceptical views relate directly to epistemology—the theory of knowledge and what we can know—and, in the modern turbulent world, it is grayling's contention that these are issues that all contemporary people need to focus on. In seeking understanding of the human condition we need more than just a set of beliefs about it: all belief is irrational. We want to know or garner some kind of proof about the fundamental truths of human existence. This is the crux of the dilemma facing intelligent people today and is illuminated by this book.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Grayling (philosophy, Birkbeck Coll., Univ. of London) sets himself the goal of refuting-or at least of attempting to refute-the philosophical doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible. To do so, he considers two sets of arguments from major antiskeptical philosophers-Berkeley and Russell in one tradition and Quine and Wittgenstein in another-and argues that the strategies the aforementioned philosophers used to accomplish their goals are "not so much incorrect as incomplete." He thereupon argues in extensive, closely reasoned, if often turgid detail, his own stratagem-which, he believes, "is the right one overall." Because of the fecundity of the argument, readers will have a difficult time deciding if he has succeeded. This is not a book for beginners in philosophy: it deals with an issue most philosophers consider the central one in philosophy and requires extensive familiarity with the discipline, both current and historical. Recommended only for academic collections.
—Leon H. Brody

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847061737
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

A.C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has written and edited numerous works of philosophy and is the author of biographies of Descartes and William Hazlitt.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Acnowledgements

Part I CARTESIAN RESPONSES

i. Berkeley's Immaterialism

ii Russell, Experience, and the Roots of Science.

iii Russell's Transcendental Argument in An Essay on the Foundations of Geometry

Part II VARIETIES OF NATURALISM

i. Wittgenstein On Certainty

ii. Quine's Naturalistic Assumptions

Part III SCEPTICISM AND JUSTIFICATION

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