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By Blake D. Dutton

Among crucial, yet usually overlooked, figures within the background of debates over skepticism is Augustine of Hippo (354–430 CE). His early discussion, Against the Academics, including colossal fabric from his different writings, constitutes a sustained try and reply to the culture of skepticism with which he was once universal. This was once the culture of educational skepticism, which had its domestic in Plato's Academy and used to be transmitted to the Roman international throughout the writings of Cicero (106–43 BCE). Augustine and educational Skepticism is the 1st entire remedy of Augustine’s critique of educational skepticism. In transparent and obtainable prose, Blake D. Dutton offers that critique as a major paintings of philosophy and engages with it accurately as such.

While Dutton presents an in depth evaluation of educational skepticism and Augustine’s stumble upon with it, his basic crisis is to articulate and review Augustine’s technique to discredit educational skepticism as a philosophical perform and vindicate the opportunity of wisdom opposed to the educational denial of that probability. In doing so, he sheds significant gentle on Augustine’s perspectives on philosophical inquiry and the purchase of knowledge.

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Extra info for Augustine and Academic Skepticism: A Philosophical Study

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If Augustine had contented himself merely with giving an account of the genesis of Academic skepticism—even one that was intended to diffuse its power—his critique would have been of little philosophical interest. It would not have dealt with the challenge that skepticism poses to the possibility of knowledge or with the viability of skepticism as a philosophical practice. Augustine, however, was much too engaged a philosopher for that. Thus, while his narrative of the history of the Academy and the broader development of Platonism provides important background for understanding his critique of Academic skepticism, that critique is ultimately philosophical in character.

The locus classicus for the Dialectical Interpretation is Couissin 1983. For updated statements of the Dialectical Interpretation, see also Frede 1984, 1999a; and Striker 1981. Accounts of Academic skepticism that reject the Dialectical Interpretation can be found in Schofield 1999 and Hankinson 1995, 74–91. 17 More important, at least for our purposes, is the fact that we find in the Academic tradition the development of a skeptical philosophy that is of considerable interest in its own right and eminently worthy of study.

Evang. 732b–733d. See also Cicero, Acad. 150–58; and Lactantius, Div. inst. 1. 16. The locus classicus for the Dialectical Interpretation is Couissin 1983. For updated statements of the Dialectical Interpretation, see also Frede 1984, 1999a; and Striker 1981. Accounts of Academic skepticism that reject the Dialectical Interpretation can be found in Schofield 1999 and Hankinson 1995, 74–91. 17 More important, at least for our purposes, is the fact that we find in the Academic tradition the development of a skeptical philosophy that is of considerable interest in its own right and eminently worthy of study.

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