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Humanities  2013 

Rorty, Williams, and Davidson: Skepticism and Metaepistemology

DOI: 10.3390/h2030351

Keywords: transcendental arguments, radical skepticism, metaepistemological skepticism, theoretical diagnosis, Barry Stroud

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Abstract:

We revisit an important exchange on the problem of radical skepticism between Richard Rorty and Michael Williams. In his contribution to this exchange, Rorty defended the kind of transcendental approach to radical skepticism that is offered by Donald Davidson, in contrast to Williams’s Wittgenstein-inspired view. It is argued that the key to evaluating this debate is to understand the particular conception of the radical skeptical problem that is offered in influential work by Barry Stroud, a conception of the skeptical problem which generates metaepistemological ramifications for anti-skeptical theories. In particular, we argue that, contra Williams, Rorty’s view that Davidson was offering a theoretical diagnosis of radical skepticism can be consistently maintained with his transcendental approach.

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