Skepticism is one of the perennial problems of philosophy: from antiquity, to the early modern period of Descartes and Hume, and right through to the present day. It remains a fundamental and widely studied topic and, as Annalisa Coliva and Duncan Pritchard show in this book, it presents us with a paradox with important ramifications not only for epistemology but also for many other core areas of philosophy.
In this book they provide a thorough grounding in contemporary debates about skepticism, exploring the following key topics:
- the core skeptical arguments, with a particular focus on Cartesian and Humean radical skepticism.
- the epistemic principles that are held to underlie skeptical arguments, such as the closure and underdetermination principles.
- the content externalism of Putnam, Davidson and Chalmers, and how it might help us respond to radical skepticism.
- the epistemic externalism/internalism distinction and how it relates to the skeptical problematic.
- contextualism in epistemology and its anti-skeptical import.
- the various interpretations of a Wittgensteinian hinge epistemology.
- the viability of epistemological disjunctivism, including whether it can be combined with hinge epistemology as part of a dual response to radical skepticism.
- liberal and conservative responses to the Humean skeptical paradox.
Both authors are themselves prominent figures who work on skepticism, and so one novelty of the book is that it provides an insight into their own contrasting responses to this philosophical difficulty. With the addition of annotated further reading and a glossary this is an ideal starting point for anyone studying the philosophy of skepticism, along with students of epistemology, metaphysics and contemporary analytic philosophy.
Table of Contents
1. The Skeptical Paradox
2. Content and Epistemic Externalism
3. The Denial of the Closure Principle and Contextualism
4. Hinge Epistemology and Closure-Based Cartesian Skepticism
5. Epistemological Disjunctivism
6. Moore, Liberals and Conservatives
7. Varieties of Hinge Epistemology: Naturalism, Contextualism and Constitutivism.
Annalisa Coliva is Full Professor, Chancellor Fellow, and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine, USA. Her books include Moore and Wittgenstein: Scepticism, Certainty and Common Sense (2010), Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology (2015), and The Varieties of Self-Knowledge (2016). With Maria Baghramian she is author of Relativism (Routledge, 2019).
Duncan PritchardFRSE is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Knowledge, Technology & Society at the University of California, Irvine, USA. His books include Epistemic Luck (2005), The Nature and Value of Knowledge (with Millar and Haddock, 2010), Epistemological Disjunctivism (2012), Epistemic Angst (2015), Scepticism: A Very Short Introduction (2019), and What is This Thing Called Knowledge? (4th edition 2018, Routledge).