Rethinking the History of Skepticism

The Missing Medieval Background


The history of skepticism usually ignores the Middle Ages. It is customary in most historical overviews to say that epistemological skepticism and external-world skepticism did not find its way into the Western philosophical tradition until Sextus Empiricus was rediscovered and retranslated into Latin in the Sixteenth century. It is the aim of this book to show that this is not true and that the history of skepticism must be rewritten. It is only once the rich discussions of both epistemological and external-world skepticism in the Middle Ages are included that the whole history of skepticism can be written, and only then can the development of modern thought be understood. This book begins this rewriting of the history of skepticism by tracing discussions of skepticism from Al-Ghazali to sixteenth century Paris.
Contributors are Taneli Kukkonen, Martin Pickave, Claude Panaccio, David Piche, Christophe Grellard, Gyula Klima, Dominik Perler, Henrik Lagerlund, and Elizabeth Karger
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Biographical Note

Henrik Lagerlund, Ph.D. (1999) in Philosophy, Uppsala University, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. He has published extensively on medieval philosophy including Modal Syllogistics in the Middle Ages (Brill, 2000), and among his edited books are Forming the Mind (Springer 2007) and Representation and Objects of Thought in Medieval Philosophy (Ashgate 2008). He is the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy (Springer, forthcoming 2010).

Table of contents

List of Contributors

A History of Skepticism in the Middle Ages
Al-Ghazali's Skepticism Revisited
Henry of Ghent and John Duns Scotus on Skepticism and the Possibility of Naturally Acquired Knowledge
Ockham's Reliabilism and the Intuition of Non-Existents
Nicholas of Autrecourt's Skepticism: The Ambivalence of Medieval Epistemology
The Anti-Skepticism of John Buridan and Thomas Aquinas: Putting Skeptics in Their Place versus Stopping Them in Their Tracks
Does God Deceive Us? Skeptical Hypotheses in Late Medieval Epistemology
Skeptical Issues in Commentaries on Aristotle's Posterior Analytics: Joh Buridasn and Albert of Saxony
A Buridianina Response to a Fourteenth Century Skepitical Argument an dits Rebuttal by a New Argument in the Early Sixteenth Century

Index of Names


All those interested in the history of philosophy, history of skepticism, medieval Arabic and Latin philosophy.


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