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Unit IV Lecture II – March 1.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 2006
Sean Coughlin

Unit IV Lecture II – March 1, 2012 Skepticism Reborn Where Are We?  Historically o Legal & political centralization carried out to increase civil peace o Central law codes based on inquisitorial law [torture allowed] and Roman law o Belief & fear in witches increasing o Safeguards in legal codes against use of torture were eroded  Philosophically o 2 world systems: (1) Aristotelian [medieval church, universities]; (2) Neoplatonic/Magic [Renaissance humanism]. o These replaced by Mechanism in 17 & 18 c. th  What changed that allowed the witch hunts to end?  Changes in understanding of the natural world (Skepticism, Empiricism, Mechanism) Montaigne  1533-1592  One of greatest humanists & essayists Dawn of the Age of Reason  Scientific Revolution – broad, unsystematized movement that abandoned received science; took people & their curiosity back to the world, and into the operations of the mind itself  New questions  o What is the proper application of reason? o What are the limits of intellect? o What is the role of imagination? o What are the criteria for truth?  Other revolutions: Geography (Columbus, New World); Time (Pocket Watch); Medicine (College of Physicians); Religion (Reformation); Agriculture (Spain, Maize, New World Crops); Calendar; Cosmos (Galileo, Telescope); Microcosmos (Microscope) Skepticism Reborn  2 varieties of old-school skepticism: o Pyrrhonian—suspended judgment on all matters  GOAL  peace of mind, freedom from disturbance o Academic—denied possibility of knowledge  GOAL  intellectual honesty/modesty  Method  produce arguments refuting both of 2 contrary positions (for & against something) Montaigne’s Skepticism Produc
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