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Unnatural Doubts:
Epistemological Realism and the Basis of Skepticism
Michael Williams

Paperback | 1996 | $62.50 | £52.95 | ISBN: 9780691011158
416 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
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In Unnatural Doubts, Michael Williams constructs a masterly polemic against the very idea of epistemology, as traditionally conceived. Although philosophers have often found problems in efforts to study the nature and limits of human knowledge, Williams provides the first book that systematically argues against there being such a thing as knowledge of the external world. He maintains that knowledge of the world consitutes a theoretically coherent kind of knowledge, whose possibility needs to be defended, only given a deeply problematic doctrine he calls "epistemological realism." The only alternative to epistemological realism is a thoroughgoing contextualism.


"[Many readers] will find their thoughts on the topic deepened and challenged by Williams's powerful and penetrating inquiry."--Marie McGinn, The Journal of Philosophy

"Williams has a feeling for the larger intellectual significance of skepticism and for its phenomenology. He attacks the skeptic's citadel with boldness, determination, and strategic sense. . . . [H]is treatment of a large range of other writings on the subject . . . combines sympathy with acute criticisms."--John Skorupski, Mind


"Exceptionally well-argued. . . . Williams's Unnatural Doubts is a major contribution to epistemology--or, rather, to the discussion of the possibility of epistemology. It includes some excellent discussions of Nozick, Dretske, Davidson, and other important contemporary philosophers."--Richard Rorty

"Williams makes a good case for the view that skepticism as it is usually presented and defended is not a presuppositionless doctrine. He argues compellingly that if we examine its presuppositions, then quite often the case made for epistemological skepticism loses much of its persuasiveness. These points are well worth considering and discussing."--Ernest Sosa

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Hardcover published in 1991 by Blackwell

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