Beyond Quietism: Transformative Experience in Pyrrhonism and Wittgenstein

International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 10 (2):105-128 (2020)
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Abstract

Pyrrhonian skepticism is usually understood as a form of quietism, since it is supposed to bring us back to where we were in our everyday lives before we got disturbed by philosophical questions. Similarly, the ‘therapeutic’ and ‘resolute’ readings of Wittgenstein claim that Wittgenstein’s ‘philosophical practice’ results in the dissolution of the corresponding philosophical problems and brings us back to our everyday life. Accordingly, Wittgenstein is often linked to Pyrrhonism and classified as a quietist. Against this reading, I will employ Laurie Paul’s notion of epistemically transformative experience and argue that Pyrrhonian skepticism and Wittgenstein’s philosophy can be interpreted as a philosophical practice that changes our self-understanding in significant ways. I will argue that this practice can evoke transformative experiences and is thereby able to yield a non-propositional insight into the finitude of the human condition. This shows that Pyrrhonian skepticism and Wittgenstein’s philosophy go beyond quietism.

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Rico Gutschmidt
Universität Konstanz

Citations of this work

The Elusive Third Way: The Pyrrhonian Illumination in Wittgenstein’s On Certainty.Roger E. Eichorn - 2020 - Elenchos: Rivista di Studi Sul Pensiero Antico 41 (2):329-362.
A Abordagem Ecológica das Habilidades e a Epistemologia dos eixos.Carvalho Eros - 2022 - In Plinio J. Smith & Nara Figueiredo (eds.), A epistemologia dos eixos: uma introdução e debate sobre as certezas de Wittgenstein. Porto Alegre: Editora Fênix. pp. 101-123.

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