In Search of Consistency
This book reconstructs the history of skepticism ranging from ancient to contemporary times, from Pyrrho to Kripke. The main skeptical stances and the historical reconstruction of the concept of skepticism are connected with an analysis of their recurrent inconsistency. The author reveals that this inconsistency is not a logical contradiction but a pragmatic one. She shows that it is a contradiction between the content of the skeptical position and the implicit presumption of the act of its assertion. The thesis of global skepticism cannot be accepted as true without falling into the pragmatic inconsistency. The author explains, how skepticism was important for exposing the limits of human knowledge and inspired its development.
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- Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2017. 306 pp.
- About the author(s)/editor(s)
- About the book
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- Table of Contents
- Chapter I. The Notion and Types of Skepticism
- 1. Genealogy of the Term Skepticism
- 2. Evolution of the Idea of Skepticism
- 2.1. Ancient Skepticism: the Suspension of Judgements Aspiring to Be the Truth
- 2.2. Medieval Skepticism: the Weakness of Human Judgements Contrasted with God’s Omnipotence
- 2.3. Modern Skepticism: Doubting the Value of Judgements Aspiring to be Knowledge
- 2.4. Contemporary Skepticism: Paradoxical Thesis on the Non-existence of Knowledge and Meaning
- 3. Types of Skepticism and Related Terminology
- Chapter II. Ancient Skepticism
- 1. Elements of Skepticism in the Pre-Pyrrhonian Philosophy
- 2. Pyrrho of Elis and Ethical Skepticism
- 3. Academic Skepticism (Arcesilaus and Carneades)
- 4. Later Pyrrhonism (Aenesidemus and Agrippa)
- 5. Sextus Empiricus – Summa of Ancient Skepticism
- 5.1. The Concept and the Criterion of Truth
- 5.2. Signs and Demonstrations
- 5.3. Physics, Ethics and the Specialized Sciences
- 5.4. The Defense of Consistency
- 5.5. Recent Consistency Interpretations
- 5.6. “Throwing away the Ladder” – Does Sextus Accept Self-Refutation?
- 5.7. Pragmatic Inconsistency of Sextan Skepticism
- Conclusions for Ancient Skepticism
- Chapter III. Christian Reception of Ancient Skepticism and Medieval Skepticism
- 1. The Early Christian Thinkers about Skepticism
- 2. St. Augustine and the Critique of Academic Skepticism
- 3. Medieval Skeptics before William Ockham (John of Salisbury, Henry of Ghent, Peter Aureoli)
- 4. William Ockham – Skepticism and Fideism
- 5. Ockham’s Followers and Skepticism Based on Divine Omnipotence
- 5.1. Nicholas of Autrecourt
- 5.2. John of Mirecourt
- Conclusions for Medieval Skepticism
- Chapter IV. Modern Skepticism
- 1. The Beginning of Modern Skepticism (Erasmus, Pico, Sanchez)
- 2. Montaigne’s Skepticism
- 2.1. Ancient Themes
- 2.2. Christian Themes
- 2.3. Renaissance Themes
- 2.4. An Attempt to Avoid the Inconsistency Charge
- 2.5. Montaigne’s Followers (Charron, de la Mothe le Vayer)
- 3. Descartes’ Hypotheses and the Radicalization of Skepticism
- 3.1. The Dream Hypothesis and the Evil Demon Hypothesis
- 3.2. Idealism and Making Skepticism Deeper
- 3.3. Methodic Skepticism
- 3.4. An Attempt to Rebut Skeptical Hypotheses
- 3.5. Skepticism between Descartes and Hume (Huet, Pascal, Bayle)
- 4. Hume and Searching for Skepticism Consistency
- 4.1. References to Ancient Tradition
- 4.2. Acceptance of the Cartesian Hypotheses
- 4.3. Broadening the Skeptical Arguments
- 4.4. Instinct as a Rescue from Skepticism
- 4.5. The Critique of Total Skepticism
- 4.6. Searching for a Consistent Moderate Skepticism
- 4.7. Dialectics of Skepticism and Naturalism
- 5. Kant’s Transcendental Skepticism and its Continuations
- 5.1. Kant and the Skeptical Tradition
- 5.2. Futility of Skepticism and the Value of the Skeptical Method
- 5.3. Transcendental Skepticism
- 5.4. Hegel about Skepticism
- 5.5. Nietzsche’s Skepticism
- Conclusions for Modern Skepticism
- Chapter V. Contemporary Skepticism
- 1. The Problem of Skepticism and the Change of the Concept of Knowledge at the Beginning of the 20th Century
- 1.1. Pragmatism
- 1.2. Analytical Philosophy
- 1.3. Phenomenology and Existentialism
- 2. Peter Unger and Contemporary Cartesian Skepticism
- 2.1. Knowledge as an Absolute Limit Term
- 2.2. Hypothesis of the Evil Scientist and Brain-in-a-Vat
- 2.3. Other Protagonists of Skepticism
- 3. The Discussion with the Cartesian Skepticism
- 3.1. Knowledge Does Not Require Certainty (Fallibilism)
- 3.2. Knowledge is Not Governed by Deductive Rules (Nozick)
- 3.3. Knowledge Does not Require Knowledge about Knowledge (Externalism)
- 3.4. Standards for Knowledge are Changeable (Contextualism)
- 3.5. Justification Does Not Require the Procedure of Justification (Williams)
- 3.6. Inconsistency of Brain-in-a-Vat Hypothesis (Putnam)
- 4. Meaning Skepticism by Kripke-Wittgenstein
- 4.1. Thought Experiment with quus
- 4.2. Practice as a Rescue from Skepticism
- 4.3. Meaning Skepticism about Other Minds
- 4.4. Skepticism about Self-Consciousness
- Conclusions for Contemporary Skepticism
- Conclusion: Pragmatic Inconsistency of Skepticism
- Chronology and Geography of Skepticism
Ac. – Cicero, On Academic Skepticism (trans. Ch. Brittain, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2006).
Adv. – Arnobius, Adversus Nationes, in: Amata B. (ed.). The Latin Library, http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/arnobius/arnobius2.shtml (accessed: 1.05.2012).
CA – Augustine St., Against the Academicians (trans. M. P. Garvey, Milwaukee, Wis.: Marquette University Press, 1942).
CD – Augustine St., The City of God (trans. M. Dods, Modern Library: New York, 2000).
CP – Peirce Ch. S., Collected Papers (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1931–1958, vols. 1–8). Congr. – Philo of Alexandria, De congressu eruditionis gratia, in: P. Wendland (ed.), Philonis Alexandrini opera quae supersunt (Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1962, vol. 3, pp. 72–109).
Div. – Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones III–IV, Heck E., A. Wlosok (eds.) (Berlin: W. de Gruyter 2007).
DL – Diogenes Laertius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (trans. C. D. Yonge, London: J. Haddon and Son, 1853).
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