Chapter

From Skepticism to Perfectionism

Lawrence F. Rhu

in Stanley Cavell's American Dream

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780823225965
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235636 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823225965.003.0004
From Skepticism to Perfectionism

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In this chapter the author describes Stanley Cavell's reception of Renaissance skepticism as he begins to characterize the Renaissance mode of thought and proceeds to show the ways that Cavell has made use of Montaigne and Descartes to respond to Shakespearean tragedy. Eventually, through the use of Emerson's influence upon Cavell, it helps to explain the evolving manner of skepticism and tragedy along with his response to these phenomena in Shakespeare and philosophy. Cavell's skepticism emphasizes the problem of other minds rather than a doubt about the external world, as well as how it inspires the response of perfectionism. This chapter describes the Renaissance reception of Plato, which Cavell pointedly uses to illustrate the fundamental features of perfectionism.

Keywords: Renaissance skepticism; Shakespearean tragedy; skepticism; tragedy; philosophy; perfectionism

Chapter.  9485 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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