Scepticism Comes Alive by Bryan FrancesScepticism Comes Alive by Bryan Frances

Scepticism Comes Alive

byBryan Frances

Paperback | September 1, 2008

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 292 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


In epistemology the nagging voice of the sceptic has always been present. Over the last thirty years or so philosophers have thought of several promising ways to counter the radical sceptic: for instance, facts about the reliability of our cognitive processes, principles determining whichpossibilities must be ruled out in order to have knowledge, and principles regarding the context-sensitivity of knowledge attributions. In this entertaining and provocative book, Bryan Frances presents a new argument template for generating new kinds of radical scepticism, ones that hold even if allthe clever anti-sceptical fixes defeat the traditional sceptic. Not only is the argument schema novel, but the sceptical consequences are entirely unexpected. Although the new sceptic concludes that we don't know that fire engines are red, that we sometimes have pains in our knees, or even that webelieve that fire engines are red or that knees sometimes throb, she admits that we know millions of exotic truths such as the fact that black holes exist. You can know about the existence of black holes, but not about the colour of your shirt or even about what you believe regarding the colour ofyour shirt. The new sceptical arguments proceed in the usual way (here's a sceptical hypothesis; you can't neutralize it, you have to be able to neutralize it to know P; so you don't know P), but the sceptical hypotheses plugged into it are 'real live' scientific-philosophical hypotheses often thought to beactually true, such as error theories about belief, colour, pain location, and character traits. Frances investigates the questions, 'Under what conditions do we need to rule out these error theories in order to know things inconsistent with them?' and 'Can we rule them out?' Particular attention ispaid to recent methods used to counter the traditional sceptic. Sharp, witty, and fun to read, Scepticism Comes Alive will be highly provocative for anyone interested in knowledge and its limits.
Bryan Frances is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, New York.
Title:Scepticism Comes AliveFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.48 inPublished:September 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199550484

ISBN - 13:9780199550487

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

1. Introduction: When a Sceptical Hypothesis is Live2. When Experts Make Mistakes3. How Live Hypotheses Sabotage Knowledge4. The First Live Sceptical Hypothesis5. Additional Sceptical Hypotheses6. The Sceptical Solution7. Universal Scepticism8. The Consistency of Scepticism and Knowledge9. Epistemic Threats, Context, and our Anti-Sceptical Strategies10. Disarming the Live Sceptical Threat11. Do Live Sceptical Hypotheses Pose Real Threats?12. Defeating the Live Sceptic Head-On13. Concluding Reflections

Editorial Reviews

`Frances's book is exceptionally clear and well-argued. He writes with an engaging style and presents original arguments for a fairly radical skepticism. Its central conclusion is highly controversial I think it might make quite a splash. 'Richard Fumerton