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Augustine and Academic SkepticismA Philosophical Study$
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Blake D. Dutton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452932

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452932.001.0001

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The Inaction Objection

The Inaction Objection

(p.75) Chapter 4 The Inaction Objection
Augustine and Academic Skepticism

Blake D. Dutton

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines one of Augustine of Hippo's best known and most powerful objections to Academic skepticism: the “Inaction Objection.” It first considers the Academics' response to the Inaction Objection, with particular emphasis on their appeal to persuasiveness as a means of explaining how the wise person may guide his or her actions in the absence of knowledge. It then discusses Augustine's criticism of the Academic response and his reasons for thinking why it was a failure. It also explores a possible rejoinder to Augustine's criticism and the extent to which it is open to the Academics to make it. It argues that Augustine has succeeded in placing a burden on the Academics—the burden of explaining why judgments of persuasiveness do not involve latent judgments of truthlikeness or, if they do involve such judgments, why the Academics are entitled to make them while at the same time disavowing all knowledge of truth.

Keywords:   persuasiveness, Augustine of Hippo, Academic skepticism, Inaction Objection, Academics, knowledge, truthlikeness, truth

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