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Common Sense, Science and Scepticism: A Historical Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (review)

Common Sense, Science and Scepticism: A Historical Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (review) Hume Studies Volume XX, Number 1, April 1994 pp. 138-139 Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press, 1993. xiii+310. $59.95 cloth; $18.95 paper. ALAN MUSGRAVE. Common Sense, Science and Scepticism: A Historical Musgrave's book tells the story of a sceptic's progress and conversion. The sceptic begins with an attack on the very possibility of knowledge (chap. 1) and then fights back against the defences of empiricists (chaps. 4-9) and rationalists (chaps. 10-13). Overcoming the last-ditch response that truth is after all subjective (and thus easily secured against sceptical attack), she emerges victorious at the start of the final chapter. She there undergoes a conversionÂ--to a form of Karl Popper's "fallibilist realism": infallibility is standardly beyond our grasp, but beliefs about the unobserved, when they have "withstood serious criticism," may be classed as reasonable and hence (if also true) as knowledge. The drama is played out with historical figuresÂ--like Locke and Berkeley as empiricist defenders of the possibility of knowledge, and Descartes as the leading rationalist. (Hume contributes more to the cause of scepticism.) But though theseÂ--with KantÂ--are the main protagonists, the historical scope is not the standard one of histories of early modern philosophy: there appear http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hume Studies Hume Society

Common Sense, Science and Scepticism: A Historical Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (review)

Hume Studies , Volume 21 (1) – Jan 26, 1995

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Abstract

Hume Studies Volume XX, Number 1, April 1994 pp. 138-139 Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press, 1993. xiii+310. $59.95 cloth; $18.95 paper. ALAN MUSGRAVE. Common Sense, Science and Scepticism: A Historical Musgrave's book tells the story of a sceptic's progress and conversion. The sceptic begins with an attack on the very possibility of knowledge (chap. 1) and then fights back against the defences of empiricists (chaps. 4-9) and rationalists (chaps. 10-13). Overcoming the last-ditch response that truth is after all subjective (and thus easily secured against sceptical attack), she emerges victorious at the start of the final chapter. She there undergoes a conversionÂ--to a form of Karl Popper's "fallibilist realism": infallibility is standardly beyond our grasp, but beliefs about the unobserved, when they have "withstood serious criticism," may be classed as reasonable and hence (if also true) as knowledge. The drama is played out with historical figuresÂ--like Locke and Berkeley as empiricist defenders of the possibility of knowledge, and Descartes as the leading rationalist. (Hume contributes more to the cause of scepticism.) But though theseÂ--with KantÂ--are the main protagonists, the historical scope is not the standard one of histories of early modern philosophy: there appear

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Hume StudiesHume Society

Published: Jan 26, 1995

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