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Ignorance : A Case for Scepticism - Peter Unger


A Case for Scepticism

Paperback Published: 1st October 2002
ISBN: 9780198244172
Number Of Pages: 336

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In this controversial volume (originally published in 1975) Peter Unger suggests that, not only can nothing ever be known, but no one can ever have a reason at all for anything. A consequence of this is that we cannot have any realistic emotional ties: it can never be conclusively said that someone is happy or sad about anything. Finally he argues that no one can ever say, let alone believe, that anything is the case. In order to get beyond this apparent bind - and this condition of ignorance - Unger proposes a radical departure from the linguistic and epistemological systems we have become accustomed to. Epistemologists, as well as philosophers of mind and language will undoubtedly find in this study of the limitations of language an invaluable philosophical perspective.

Industry Reviews

"Oxford University Press has done well to reissue Ignorance, Peter Unger's first book in epistemology. Unger follows the argument to great depth, wherever it may lead, and the reader who follows along will be amply rewarded, which shows how impressively fresh and relevant this work remains after all
these years."--Ernest Sosa, Brown University and Rutgers University.
"A powerful and profoundly original skeptical challenge. What you have to know-but if Unger is right, you don't-about ignorance. Anyone serious about epistemology should read it."--Fred Dretske, emeritus, Stanford University.
"A profoundly rewarding work, this is one of the most important studies in epistemology of the last fifty years. It should be read by any serious student in that field."--John Hawthorne, Rutgers University.
"Ignorance is, in my opinion, the best book in epistemology to appear in the last thirty years. It would be good for epistemology if every graduate student entering the field read and studied this classic."--Keith DeRose, Yale University.

Introductionp. 1
A Classical Form of Sceptical Argumentp. 7
Some Problems in Stating a Sceptical Thesis and some Steps towards their Resolutionp. 10
An Argument Concerning the External Worldp. 13
The Essential Reasoningp. 14
The Assumption of Reasoningp. 15
Some Cartesian Complicationsp. 17
A United Statement of the Argumentp. 20
How Further Complications Place Limits on this Argumentp. 21
On Trying to Reverse this Argument: Exotic Cases and Feelings of Irrationalityp. 24
Ordinary Cases and these same Feelingsp. 28
The Explanatory Power of the Attitude of Certaintyp. 30
The Retreat to Reasonable Believing: A Complex of Arguments and Problemsp. 36
An Argument concerning Other Timesp. 40
How much Alleged Knowledge can this Form of Argument Compellingly Exclude?p. 44
A Language with Absolute Termsp. 47
Sophisticated Worries about what Scepticism Requiresp. 50
Absolute Terms and Relative Termsp. 54
On Certainty and Certain Related Thingsp. 62
The Doubtful Applicability of some Absolute Termsp. 65
Meaning and Usep. 68
Understanding, Learning and Paradigm Casesp. 70
How Better to Focus on Actual Meaningp. 74
A Method, a Principle, and some Auxiliary Aids to getting Proper Focusp. 80
Does Knowing Require Being Certain?p. 83
Closing our Defence and Opening a new Argumentp. 87
An Argument for Universal Ignorancep. 92
A Preliminary Statement of the Argumentp. 95
The First Premiss: The Idea that if one Knows it is all right for one to be Certainp. 98
The Second Premiss: The Idea that it is never all right to be Absolutely Certainp. 103
What Attitude is Involved in one's being Absolutely Certain?p. 105
The Attitude of Certainty and the Absoluteness of 'Certain'p. 114
Why is there Always Something Wrong with Having this Absolute Attitude?p. 118
Helpful Experiences for Rejecting the Attitude of Certaintyp. 123
Helpful Experiences for the Hardest Cases; Other Timesp. 129
Helpful Experiences for the Hardest Cases; Cartesian Propositionsp. 131
An Absolutely Clear Analysis of Knowingp. 136
Some Implications of this Analysisp. 140
Taking Stock of our Scepticismp. 147
Some Wages of Ignorancep. 152
The Patterns our Language Reserves for the Central Concepts of our Thoughtp. 153
Constructing some simple Sentences and Talking about some Entailmentsp. 154
How Verbs Yield Entailments to Knowledgep. 158
How an Hypothesis may be Taken as a Governing Paradigmp. 162
Why some Entailments from Verbs are not to be Foundp. 164
Sentences with Adjectives and some Hypotheses about themp. 169
Adjectives which Confirm our First Hypothesisp. 171
How some Adjectives Disconfirm this First Hypothesisp. 176
The Absence of Adjectives which Entail Falsityp. 177
Reformulating our First Hypotheses for Verbs and Adjectivesp. 180
Some Wages of Ignorance; Their Scope and Substancep. 183
A Problem of what to Say and Thinkp. 189
From Ignorance to Irrationalityp. 197
The Basis in Knowledge Argument; Being Reasonablep. 199
The First Premiss: The Step from one's Being Reasonable to one's Reason or Reasonsp. 201
The Second Premiss: The Step from one's Reason or Reasons to the Propositional Specificity of these thingsp. 204
The Third Premiss: The Step from one's Propositionally Specific Reason or Reasons to one's Knowingp. 206
The Basis Argument again; Being Justifiedp. 211
Two Hypotheses about Nounsp. 214
On the Connection between Partial Scepticisms of the two Typesp. 226
The Principle of the Possibility of Identifying Knowledgep. 231
A Form of Sceptical Argument Employing this Principlep. 239
Irrationalityp. 242
A Second Problem of what to Say and Thinkp. 246
Where Ignorance Enjoins Silencep. 250
Some Feelings we have towards the Statements of Scepticsp. 250
An Hypothesis concerning Asserting and Like Actsp. 252
Support from Problem Sentencesp. 256
Support from Conversational Situationsp. 260
More Representational Difficultiesp. 265
The Impossibility of Truthp. 272
The Whole Truth about the Worldp. 273
Parts of the Truth, Facts, and some things which are Truep. 278
The Objects of Knowingp. 280
The Truth and Truthp. 284
Agreement and Truthp. 288
The Predications of Truth and the Relevant Sense of "True"p. 293
The Modification of "True"p. 297
The Appearance of Amounts of Truthp. 299
Falsity and Truthp. 304
Some Paradoxical Consequences of this Accountp. 308
An Approach to Philosophyp. 313
Indexp. 321
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780198244172
ISBN-10: 0198244177
Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 1st October 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.66 x 15.65  x 2.16
Weight (kg): 0.4

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