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Henry Of Ghent And John Duns Scotus On Skepticism And The Possibility Of Naturally Acquired Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the discussion of skepticism that is at the heart of the debate between Henry of Ghent and John Duns Scotus. This discussion is interesting for various reasons. On the one hand, it is the first time in later medieval philosophy that (ancient) skeptical positions receive broader attention. On the other hand, it illustrates the methodological role that skeptical arguments have in medieval epistemological accounts. The chapter starts with Henrys central arguments for the need of divine illumination and their alleged failure. Next, it defends Henry from Scotuss accusations by pointing out to what extent Henry himself rejects skeptical arguments. This leads us, thirdly, to ask whether Scotuss criticism is fair or whether it misses its goal. After their respective responses to skeptical challenges are compared, the chapter finally compares the strategies that Henry and Scotus recommend in cases we have to argue with a skeptic.

Keywords: divine illumination; Henry of Ghent; John Duns Scotus; medieval epistemological accounts; medieval philosophy; skepticism



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