Cultural Studies . Philosophy . Politics, Philosophy and Religion . Scottish Studies

Realism and Scepticism

By Gordon Graham

Gordon GrahamFor the Scottish philosophers of the 18th and 19th centuries, Hume was the great ‘sceptic’ awaiting an answer, which many of them thought Thomas Reid had provided. Thanks to Norman Kemp Smith’s seminal papers, philosophers in the 20th century came round to the view that Hume was more accurately interpreted as a consistent naturalist, or at most a ‘mitigated’ sceptic. Similarly, philosophers have recently raised questions about just how ‘realist’ Reid’s response to Hume actually is.

This sample issue begins with a paper in which John P Wright considers more closely some of the interpretative issues surrounding Hume. It is followed by Thomas Holden’s exploration of the wider context of Humean skepticism, undertaken with an eye to determining its contemporary significance. The two papers that follow – by Nicholas Wolterstorff and Chris Lindsay — investigate the degree to which Reid’s response to scepticism is indeed robustly realist.

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