The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Spinoza
"I had read the book before in the shorter Harper Torchbook edition but read it again right through--and found it as interesting and exciting as before. I regard it as one of the seminal books in the history of ideas. Based on a prodigious amount of original research, it demonstrated conclusively and in fascinating details how the transmission of ancient skepticism was a bital factor in the formation of modern thought. The story is rich in implications for th history of philosophy, the history of science, and the history of religious thought. Popkin's work has already inspired further work by others--and the new edition takes account of this, most importantly the work of Charles Schmitt. The two new chapters extend the story as far as Spinoza, with special reference to the beginnings of biblical criticism...Popkin's history is of great potential interest to a wide readership--wider than most specialist publications and wider than it has (so far as I can tell) reached hitherto."--M.F. Burnyeat, Professor of Philosophy, University College London
- Paperback | 360 pages
- 139.7 x 210.82 x 25.4mm | 453.59g
- 01 Nov 1979
- University of California Press
- Berkerley, United States
- Revised ed.
- black & white illustrations
Back cover copy
The period I shall treat, 1500-1675, is certainly not the unique period of sceptical impact on modern thought. Both before and after this time interval, one can find important influences of the ancient sceptical thinkers. But, it is my contention that scepticism plays a special and different role in the period from the Reformation up to the formulation of the Cartesian philosophy; a special and different role due to the fact that the intellectual crisis brought on by the Reformation coincided in time with the rediscovery and revival of the arguments of the ancient Greek sceptics. In the sixteenth century, with the discovery of manuscripts of Sextus's writings, there is a revival of interest and concern with ancient scepticism, and with the application of its views to the problems of the day.
About Richard H. Popkin
Richard H. Popkin is Professor of Philosophy at Washington University, St. Louis, and was formerly at the University of California, San Diego.