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Metascience

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 117–121 | Cite as

Epistemology without concepts?

Penelope Maddy: What do philosophers do? Skepticism and the practice of philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, xi+248pp, $29.95 HB
  • Santiago Echeverri
Book Review
  • 72 Downloads

What do philosophers do? Penelope Maddy sets out to answer this question in this lucid and enjoyable book—a collection of her Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa lectures. In a nutshell: philosophers investigate “questions without a home in any other discipline” (220). Maddy focuses on one perennial philosophical question: How do we come to know anything at all about the world around us? This question has often led philosophers to embrace some form of skepticism. Maddy tries to show how the methods employed by philosophers like John Austin, G. E. Moore, Thomas Reid, and Ludwig Wittgenstein can be fruitfully used to avoid the skeptical conclusion. Maddy revisits two skeptical arguments: The Dream Argument (Chapter 1) and The Argument from Illusion (Chapter 2). The Infinite Regress of Justification and the Closure Argument are briefly presented in two appendices. Chapter 3 knits together the results from previous chapters and addresses the deontological question: What shouldphilosophers do?...

References

  1. Austin, John L. 1956. “A plea for excuses,” reprinted in J. L. Austin: Philosophical papers, eds. J.O. Urmson and G.J. Warnock, 175–204. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.Google Scholar
  2. Grice, Paul. 1967. “Logic and conversation,” reprinted in his Studies in the way of words, 1–143. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Stroud, Barry. 1984. The significance of philosophical skepticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Stroud, Barry. 1996. “Epistemological reflection on knowledge of the external world,” reprinted in his Understanding human knowledge, 122–138. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRutgers University – School of Arts and SciencesNew BrunswickUSA

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