Scepticism, Knowledge, and Forms of Reasoning (Hardback)John Koethe (author)
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"The problem of philosophical scepticism is not so much what to say about the view itself (there being a consensus that it should be rejected), but rather what to say about the arguments that purport to yield it. And since these arguments involve claims and principles concerning notions like knowledge and possibility, it is difficult to see how to explore the arguments without exploring these notions too."-from the Introduction
How do we address philosophical arguments whose conclusions contradict our commonsense knowledge? For example: a logically impeccable argument that concludes that you cannot know that you are at this very moment reading a description of a book of philosophy. That is the problem of philosophical scepticism.
Scepticism, Knowledge, and Forms of Reasoning is an attempt to resolve how best to respond to such vexing arguments, a matter on which there is no consensus among contemporary philosophers. Rather than denying the premises of such arguments or simply declaring them invalid, John Koethe delves into what such arguments reveal about the nature of reasoning itself. He suggests that there is nothing straightforwardly wrong with sceptical arguments, and that in recognizing this while at the same time honoring our commonsense convictions about knowledge, we confront profound questions about the very nature of reasoning.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 397 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
"This elegant book develops a novel response to a kind of skeptical argument that has received considerable attention over the past thirty years or so. Koethe critically considers the principal responses to the argument, and in the course of developing his proposal, puts forward intriguing (and sometimes radical) ideas on a broad range of topics, including logical validity, epistemological realism, and the concept of knowledge. The book is highly stimulating and rewarding, and it is also a pleasure to read. All philosophers interested in epistemology-novices and experts alike-will benefit from reading this book."* Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
"In Scepticism, Knowledge, and Forms of Reasoning, John Koethe usefully discusses various philosophical responses to the generally accepted knowledge transmission principle. He argues plausibly that our concept of knowledge is socially determined in a way that provides no adequate resolution. His argument involves a social account of what it is for something to be known and what it is to be epistemically possible, as well as a Dummett-style nonrealist semantics for these concepts. I like this book very much. It provides a novel approach to issues of contemporary interest, is very enjoyable to read, and provides an excellent account of recent literature in philosophical epistemology."-- Gilbert Harman, Princeton University
"This is one of the most intriguing discussions of epistemological scepticism I've seen in some time. John Koethe rigorously diagnoses the forces at work in sceptical arguments, foregrounding deep connections between epistemological scepticism and issues involving moral luck, free will, and Davidsonian theories of interpretation. He shows, moreover, that sceptical arguments manifest profound aspects of reasoning, validity, and the principles implicit in epistemic appraisal. Scepticism, Knowledge, and Forms of Reasoning is a fine piece of systematic philosophy; it will provoke considerable discussion and will appeal to epistemologists, philosophers of language, and philosophers of logic."-- Robert Kraut, The Ohio State University