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Publisher's Summary

Throughout history scepticism and the urge to question accepted truths has been a powerful force for change and growth. Today, as we are bombarded by adverts, scientific studies praising the latest superfoods, and political rhetoric, a healthy amount of scepticism is widely encouraged. But when is such scepticism legitimate - for example, as a driver of new ideas - and when is it problematic? And what role might adopting a sceptical outlook play in leading an intellectually virtuous life? 

In this Very Short Introduction Duncan Pritchard explores both the advantages of scepticism, in challenging outdated notions, and also how it can have unhelpful social consequences, in generating distrust. He considers the role of scepticism at the source of contemporary social and political movements such as climate change denial, post-truth politics, and fake news. Pritchard also examines the philosophical arguments for a radical form of scepticism which maintains that knowledge is impossible, and explores some of the main responses to these arguments. Finally, he considers the part scepticism might play in applying better thinking and learning to achieve a more meaningful life.

©2019 Duncan Pritchard (P)2020 Tantor

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Ingenious, Engaging, and Incisive Introduction

Duncan's account of scepticism provides everything one is looking for in a very short introduction. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand the nature, virtues, pitfalls, and advantages of scepticism. He portrays the various types of scepticism with equal seriousness and assesses the cogency of responses to scepticism. In the end he provides helpful application of moderate scepticism to various practical areas as politics, ethics, and science. Prior background in epistemology or philosophy is not necessary. In fact, I believe it is the best place to start one's journey in philosophy since the problem of scepticism is the starting point of Western philosophy anyways!

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