The Aims of Skeptical Investigation

Katja Maria Vogt

in Belief and Truth

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199916818
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980291 | DOI:
The Aims of Skeptical Investigation

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Scholars sometimes raise the following objection against Sextus' skepticism: in order to properly investigate, one must aim at discovery of the truth; the skeptics employ modes of argument that predictably lead them to suspension of judgment; arguably, this—combined with tranquility—is their aim. Thus they do not seem to be investigators, a deadly charge, for this is precisely what skepticism is supposed to be: a philosophy of on-going investigation. The chapter explores the complex nature of investigation in the Socratic tradition. The aim of investigation is twofold: to accept truths and to avoid accepting falsehoods. Different kinds of investigation reflect different ways in which the relationship between these two aims can be construed. The skeptics primarily aim to avoid the acceptance of falsehoods. This aim, however, expresses valuation of the truth. And thus the skeptics can plausibly describe themselves as investigators.

Keywords: Investigation; truth; scepticism; discovery; beliefs; Socratic investigation

Chapter.  9232 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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