The Radical and the Sceptic

Duff, Konstancja Mary (2014) The Radical and the Sceptic. MPhil thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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This thesis departs from the observation of a parallel between the situations of the radical sceptical, on the one hand, and the political radical, on the other, with respect to 'ordinary' or 'commonsense' standards of justification, dominant modes of inquiry, taken-for-granted beliefs, etc. This observation raises two questions, one methodological and one substantive. The methodological question asks: what is the significance of the fact that debates about scepticism tend to be proceed without acknowledging the political nature of actual epistemic practices, although their conclusions are supposed to apply to these practices? The more substantive question is: how might attentiveness to the political assumptions and consequences of anti-sceptical discourse affect our understanding of what the epistemologist should be trying to achieve? The aim of this thesis is to shed light on these questions through close engagement with a particular strand in the scepticism literature: the attempt to undercut the sceptic by offering a theoretical diagnosis of the philosophical context which gives sceptical questions an appearance of urgency. Chapters 1 and 2 trace the debate between two competing theoretical diagnoses, offered by Michael Williams and John McDowell respectively; chapter 3 frames the political-philosophical issues which I argue are crucial to understanding the significance of their differences; chapters 4 and 5 revisit the Williams-McDowell debate in order to draw some more general conclusions regarding the attention due to the shadowy figure of the radical in confronting the problems of scepticism.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2014 10:53
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 12:46

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