April 28, 2013

WHY THE ANGLOSPHERE WON THE LONG WAR:

THE BEST PHILOSOPHY IS HUME'S SCEPTICISM (Anthony Gottlieb, May/June 2013, Intelligent Life)

It was David Hume, in the 18th century, who showed how to bring scepticism back to life. The first step is to keep in mind what Hume called the "strange infirmities" of human understanding, and the "universal perplexity and confusion, which is inherent in human nature". Armed with this knowledge--for our ignorance is the one thing of which we can be certain--we should be sure to exercise the "degree of doubt, and caution, and modesty, which, in all kinds of scrutiny and decision, ought for ever to accompany a just reasoner". Apart from anything else, this would help to cure people of their "haughtiness and obstinacy".

Every significant English-speaking philosopher, with the notable exception of Darwin, has been a skeptic, the philosophy perhaps best captured in Federalist 51.  It's why we avoided all the isms (although the Brits did succumb to Darwinism out of national pride).

Posted by at April 28, 2013 9:40 AM
  

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