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Lyric OrientationsHölderlin, Rilke, and the Poetics of Community$
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Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801456954

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801456954.001.0001

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Skepticism and the Struggle over Finitude

Skepticism and the Struggle over Finitude

Stanley Cavell

(p.16) 1 Skepticism and the Struggle over Finitude
Lyric Orientations

Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses philosophical skepticism as a concept that critiques human problems of finitude. This skepticism is a particularly virulent form of a more general epistemic rationalism. By the twenty-first century, it ramified into a scientism that divided the world into an all-or-nothing of certain (rational) knowledge, and total uncertainty or relativism. The chapter particularly examines the work of Stanley Cavell who challenged dominant models of rationalism by linking the mind and the world through concepts derived from the study of language. It presents Cavell's discussions of skepticism about minds and about the existence of the external world as the secular appearances of the struggle against human finitude.

Keywords:   philosophical skepticism, finitude, epistemic rationalism, scientism, relativism, Stanley Cavell, external world, human finitude

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