Chapter 5 :Epistemology


(NOTE:  You must read only those linked materials that are preceded by the capitalized word READ.) 

Skepticism is the belief that some or all human knowledge is impossible. Since even our best methods for learning about the world sometimes fall short of perfect certainty, skeptics argue, it is better to suspend belief than to rely on the dubitable products of reason. Classical skeptics include Pyrrho and Sextus Empiricus. In the modern era, Montaigne, Bayle, and Hume all advocated some form of skeptical philosophy. Fallibilism is a more moderate response to the lack of certainty.  

Sketch of David Hume

READ wikipedia on Skepticism 

David Hume, the jovial skeptic

Suggested Reading: Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 

Philosophy Encyclopedia on Skepticism

Ancient Skepticism

READ  Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Contemporary Skepticism 

A degree of skepticism is quite healthy as a counterpoint to being too credulous and being taken in by poor reasoning and illusions and deliberate attempts to mislead and deceive.  Skepticism that holds that it is not possible to have knowledge is self defeating and not productive.  There should be a skeptical inquiry that is used before humans reach conclusions and decide which beliefs they will hold. There is a sort of positive skepticism that urges caution and all deliberate care and critique before drawing conclusions or setting beliefs but does not reject the possibility of either achieving knowledge or gaining closer proximity to knowledge and truth.

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Introduction to Philosophy by Philip A. Pecorino is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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