Epistemic Angst, Intellectual Courage and Radical Scepticism

In: International Journal for the Study of Skepticism
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  • 1 University of Southampton

The overarching aim of this paper is to persuade the reader that radical scepticism is driven less by independently plausible arguments and more by a fear of epistemic limitation which can be overcome. By developing the Kierkegaardian insight that knowledge requires courage, I show that we are not, as potential knowers, just passive recipients of a passing show of putatively veridical information, we also actively need to put ourselves in the way of it by learning to resist certain forms of epistemic temptation: the Cartesian thought that we could be ‘imprisoned’ within our own representations, and, hence permanently ‘out of touch’ with an ‘external’ world, and the Reasons Identity Thesis, which has us believe that whether we are in the good case or in the bad case, our epistemic grounds are the same.

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