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Acquired Skepticism In The Seventeenth Century

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Chapter Summary

Connections between skeptical and anthropological views appear as a major novelty in the reappraisal of the legacy of the Hellenistic philosophical schools of skepticism. In this chapter, the author wishes to focus on a completely different kind of skepticism, which the author calls "acquired skepticism". This model derives from an Augustinian anthropology, quite influential after the Reformation, that takes man's feebleness as arising not from his nature, that is, from man as he leaves the hands of the creator, but from original sin. If Manichaeism is the charge raised against the skeptics who assume that skepticism is natural to man, Pelagianism is the fundamental charge that the holders of acquired skepticism raise against dogmatic philosophers. Joseph Glanvill was one of the most important critics of René Descartes who discussed and developed skeptical views along the lines of the acquired model.

Keywords: acquired skepticism; dogmatic philosophers; Joseph Glanvill; Manichaeism; René Descartes's



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