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Searle On Knowledge, Certainty And Skepticism: In View Of Cases In Western And Chinese Traditions

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines John Searle's historical thesis about the present irrelevance of skepticism and the thesis that certainty does not entail incorrigibility. Although there is some evidence in favor of each, the author will eventually arrives at the conclusion that neither is correct. The author suggests a different construal of the Western historical situation. He thinks that Searle is right in saying that epistemology has been the central player in that tradition since the 17th C. And the author thinks Searle is also right in saying that at least for Descartes skepticism is seen as a main threat. But the author disagrees about what it is threatening. According to the author's view, the challenges Descartes worries about are to certainty rather than to knowledge. The textual evidence in support of this interpretation is powerful.

Keywords: certainty; Chinese traditions; Descartes; John Searle's historical thesis; knowledge; skepticism; Western historical situation



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