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Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader

Keith DeRose and Ted A. Warfield, eds. (Oxford University Press: Jan 28, 1999), 320 pages.

Recently, new life has been breathed into the ancient philosophical topic of skepticism. The subject of some of the best and most provocative work in contemporary philosophy, skepticism has been addressed not only by top epistemologists but also by several of the world’s finest philosophers who are most known for their work in other areas of the discipline. Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader brings together the most important recent contributions to the discussion of skepticism. Covering major approaches to the skeptical problem, it features essays by Anthony Brueckner, Keith DeRose, Fred Dretske, Graeme Forbes, Christopher Hill, David Lewis, Thomas Nagel, Robert Nozick, Hilary Putnam, Ernest Sosa, Gail Stine, Barry Stroud, Peter Unger, and Ted Warfield. The book opens with a thorough introduction that outlines the skeptical problem, explains the dominant responses to skepticism, and discusses the strengths, weaknesses, and unresolved issues of each response, providing undergraduate students and nonphilosophers with the background and context necessary to understand the essays. Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader serves as an ideal text for courses in epistemology and skepticism and will also appeal to professional philosophers and interested general readers.

Table of Contents

    • Ch. 1    Introduction: Responding to Skepticism    1
  • Pt. 1    The Response from Semantic Externalism
    • Ch. 2    Brains in a Vat    27
    • Ch. 3    Semantic Answers to Skepticism    43
    • Ch. 4    Realism and Skepticism: Brains in a Vat Revisited    61
    • Ch. 5    A Priori Knowledge of the World: Knowing the World by Knowing Our Minds    76
  • Pt. 2    Responses From Epistemic Externalism
    • Ch. 6    Philosophical Scepticism and Epistemic Circularity    93
    • Ch. 7    Process Reliabilism and Cartesian Scepticism    115
    • Pt. 3    Relevant Alternatives and Denying Closure
    • Ch. 8    Epistemic Operators    131
    • Ch. 9    Skepticism, Relevant Alternatives, and Deductive Closure    145
    • Ch. 10    Philosophical Explanations (Selections)    156
  • Pt. 4    Contextualist Responses
    • Ch. 11    Solving the Skeptical Problem    183
    • Ch. 12    Elusive Knowledge    220
  • Pt. 5    Concessive Responses
    • Ch. 13    Philosophical Relativity (Selections)    243
    • Ch. 14    The View from Nowhere (Selections)    272
    • Ch. 15    Scepticism, ‘Externalism’, and the Goal of Epistemology    292
    • Bibliography    305
    • Index    312