Is Modern Science a Problem for Living as a Pyrrhonist Today? A Discussion of Richard Bett’s “Can We Be Ancient Sceptics?”

International Journal for the Study of Skepticism:1-18 (2020)
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Abstract

In the final chapter of his recent book How to Be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Skepticism, Richard Bett discusses the possibility of living as a Pyrrhonian skeptic today. Chief among his concerns is the scope of the skeptic’s suspension of judgment and whether or not the skeptic could maintain suspension of judgment in light of the results of modern science. For example, how might the skeptic sustain suspension of judgment in light of overwhelming evidence for climate change? Or even atomic theory? Ultimately, Bett concludes that such claims within the natural sciences preclude us from living as Pyrrhonists today. In the following paper I argue, how it is possible for the Pyrrhonian skeptic to suspend judgment on certain well-confirmed scientific theories, how the skeptic does so in accord with rational norms, and in turn, that Pyrrhonian skepticism is possible as a way of life today.

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Ryan McCoy
University of Kentucky

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