Epistemic Angst offers a completely new solution to the ancient philosophical problem of radical skepticism—the challenge of explaining how it is possible to have knowledge of a world external to us.
Duncan Pritchard argues that the key to resolving this puzzle is to realize that it is composed of two logically distinct problems, each requiring its own solution. He then puts forward solutions to both problems. To that end, he offers a new reading of Wittgenstein’s account of the structure of rational evaluation and demonstrates how this provides an elegant solution to one aspect of the skeptical problem. Pritchard also revisits the epistemological disjunctivist proposal that he developed in previous work and shows how it can effectively handle the other aspect of the problem. Finally, he argues that these two antiskeptical positions, while superficially in tension with each other, are not only compatible but also mutually supporting.
The result is a comprehensive and distinctive resolution to the problem of radical skepticism, one that challenges many assumptions in contemporary epistemology.
Duncan Pritchard is professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, where he is the director of Eidyn: The Edinburgh Centre for Epistemology, Mind and Normativity. His books include Epistemic Luck and Epistemological Disjunctivism.
"[An] innovative, clearly written, and wide-ranging book."—Daniel Immerman, Grazer Philosophische Studien
"Pritchard is an excellent analytic philosopher and manifests to a high degree the analytic philosophical skills of conceptual sophistication and rigour of reasoning."—Peter Davson-Galle, Science and Education
"This is an outstanding book on issues of philosophical skepticism central to epistemology throughout its history. Writing lucidly and engagingly, Duncan Pritchard tackles these issues in the context of recent philosophy, going back to Wittgenstein's On Certainty. Pritchard also lays out and defends an original proposal in dialectic with well-known rivals, such as relativist contextualism, attributor contextualism, contrastivism, dogmatism, and others."—Ernest Sosa, Rutgers University
"Epistemic Angst will be a must-read for anyone interested in epistemology or Wittgenstein. I don't think there is anything about Wittgenstein's contribution to current epistemological debates that comes anywhere near this book. It provides a helpful survey of these debates and a very clear introduction to Wittgenstein's epistemology. Pritchard is an excellent writer with a gift for summarizing complicated debates, and his book will have a tremendous impact on the field."—Clayton Littlejohn, King's College London