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A History Of Skepticism In The Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

This introduction chapter gives a short overview of medieval skepticism. It shows that skepticism arose in the Middle Ages largely without the influence of Ancient sources. Skepticism seems to have occupied the minds of all the best thinkers of the fourteenth century, and it forced Buridan, the foremost thinker of the time, to modify the traditional view of knowledge. When Sextus is rediscovered in the late fifteenth century, skepticism of a much more problematic sort had already been discussed for two hundred years at most European universities. As a phenomenon, skepticism was not new in Europe at this time, but some of the earlier presuppositions had changed. As the chapter shows that Buridans solution was being challenged, infallibililist views of knowledge had crept back into philosophy and the religious controversies of the time had largely changed the cultural context of philosophy.

Keywords: medieval philosophy; skepticism



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