The Demands of Reason

The Demands of Reason : An Essay on Pyrrhonian Scepticism

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Sextus Empiricus' Outlines of Pyrrhonism is one of the most important and influential texts in the history of Greek philosophy. In The Demands of Reason Casey Perin exams those aspects of Pyrrhonian Scepticism as Sextus describes it in the Outlines that are of special philosophical significance: its commitment to the search for truth and to certain principles of rationality, its scope, and its consequences for action and agency. Perin argues that
the Sceptic is engaged in the search for truth and that since this is so, the Sceptic aims to satisfy certain basic rational requirements. He explains how the fact that the Sceptic has this aim makes it necessary, as Sextus says it is, for the Sceptic to suspend judgment under certain conditions. Perin defends an
interpretation of the scope of Scepticism according to which the Sceptic has no beliefs about how things are rather than merely appear to him to be. He then explores whether, and how, Sextus can respond to the objection that since the Sceptic lacks beliefs of this kind, he cannot act and Scepticism is not, as Sextus claims it is, a possible way of life.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 142 pages
  • 139 x 215 x 8mm | 184g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199655170
  • 9780199655175
  • 1,267,065

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. The Search for Truth ; 2. Necessity and Rationality ; 3. The Scope of Scepticism ; 4. Appearances and Action ; Conclusion ; Bibliography
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Review quote

this is one of the best books on Hume I have ever read. * Kevin Meeker, Mind Association * Perin's interpretation of Sextus' Scepticism is here to stay. It is coherent, well-argued, and philosophically challenging. Specialists in ancient or modern scepticism, general classicists, and philosophers in any field of the discipline have much to learn from Perin's book. * Voula Tsouna, Mind Association * Perin's book has made me rethink a great deal about the nature and the viability of Sextan Pyrrhonism as well as the intricate philosophical questions it reaises. This is why I cannot but highly recommend it. * Diego Machuca, Elenchos * Perin has defended a well argued, clear, and challenging interpretation of some of the central aspects of Pyrrhonian scepticism. In this respect, The Demands of Reason is a major contribution to Sextus scholarship. At the same time, it shows that Sextus is still able to engage a contemporary reader... Perin's interpretation is convincing, elegant, and well argued. * Filip Grgic, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
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About Casey Perin

Casey Perin is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has published papers on Aristotle, Stoicism, ancient scepticism, and Descartes.
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