Review of Metaphysics 43 (1):168-169 (1989)

Philosophy in Question is one of those rare books which manage to cast an entirely new light on familiar themes. By recovering the Pyrrhonian tradition, Hiley reinvigorates some key figures in philosophy's history while offering an insightful framework for understanding current postmodernist talk about the "end of philosophy." What motivated the Pyrrhonists, we find, was not "doubt for doubt's sake," but deep concerns about the moral and social implications of philosophy. Their critique of the Platonic equation, knowledge = virtue = happiness, was directed against dogmatism and the presumption of assuming that knowing essences would make us better people. Hiley shows how this antiphilosophical theme reappears in such thinkers as Montaigne, Hume, and Rousseau, and he uses it to clarify recent questions about the Enlightenment notion of rationality found in Foucault, Kuhn, and Rorty. In the end, we have a compelling picture of how philosophy through the ages has been haunted by doubts about its ability to lead us to the good life.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph198943181
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