On the Origins of Modern Skepticism: Descartes, Doubt and Certainty

  • Philip Walsh
Part of the Renewing Philosophy book series (REP)


The fundamental difference in orientation between ancient and modern skepticism, drawn by Hegel in terms of the superiority of the former, is not restricted to modern empiricism, but includes its antipode, rationalism. Indeed, modern empiricist skepticism, while it is opposed to the conclusions and approach typical of rationalism, nevertheless is concerned with the same framework of problems, of which the constitution of the external world provides the central pillar for the modern philosophical problems of freedom, rationality and God. That framework has its origins in Cartesian doubt. But doubt does not give rise to modern ‘solutions’ to the problems raised by ancient skepticism; rather, it is concerned with quite different questions, which are, to a great degree, incommensurable with the framework within which ancient skepticism arose.


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© Philip Walsh 2005

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  • Philip Walsh

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