Chapter

Two explanations of scepticism: the first‐person approach, and the absolute perspective

Edward Craig

in Knowledge and the State of Nature

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238799
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597237 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198238797.003.0013
 Two explanations of scepticism: the first‐person approach, and the absolute perspective

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Considers and rejects two common explanations of the roots of scepticism. The first, that finds them in a first‐person approach to epistemology that takes as its central question ‘what do I know?’, is rejected on the grounds that first‐personalism results from thinking about certain normally ignored possibilities and gives no explanation of why they are so ignored, and therefore no adequate explanation of scepticism. The second, that scepticism is the offspring of an ‘absolute’ conception of truth, is espoused by Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel. Craig argues that since no explanation is given of why it is impossible in principle to attain the absolute conception, the only way adhering to the idea of such a conception can lead to scepticism is if we raise independently the traditional sceptical possibilities.

Keywords: absolute conception; first‐person; knowledge; Nagel; scepticism; Williams

Chapter.  4588 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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