The Limits of Epistemology
At the centre of modern epistemology lurks the problem of scepticism: how can we know that the forms of our cognition are compatible with the world? How can we state success conditions for knowledge claims without somehow transcending our discursive and fallible nature as knowers?
By distinguishing different forms of scepticism, Markus Gabriel shows how all objective knowledge relies on shared discourses and how the essential corrigibility of knowledge claims is a crucial condition of their objectivity. We should understand scepticism not so much as posing a threat, but as offering a vital lesson about the fallibility of discursive thinking. By heeding this lesson, we can begin to reintegrate the solipsistic subject of modern epistemology back into the community of actual knowers.
Taking his cue from Hegel, Wittgenstein and Brandom, Gabriel shows how intentionality as such is a public rather than a private phenomenon. He concedes that the sceptic can prove the necessary finitude of objective knowledge, but denies that this has to lead us into an aporia. Instead, it shows us the limits of the modern project of epistemology.
Through an examination of different kinds of sceptical paradoxes, Gabriel not only demonstrates their indispensable role within epistemological theorising, but also argues for the necessary failure of all totalizing knowledge claims. In this way, epistemology, as the discipline that claims knowledge about knowledge, begins to grasp its own fallibility and, as a result, the true nature of its objectivity.
The Limits of Epistemology will be of great value to students and scholars of philosophy.
Publication Date: 22-Nov-2019
Publisher: Polity Press