Formulating and responding to the challenge of scepticism (the view that we can’t know anything) is often taken to be the central problem of epistemology (the study of knowledge). The most prominent starting points for discussions of skepticism are the works of René Descartes and David Hume, although a more general skeptical argument is often seen in Sextus Empiricus’ Outlines of Pyrrhonism (arguing that we should withhold judgment on all matters of fact, because no matter how we reason for a judgment, there is an opposing judgment that we can reason for in a parallel manner). “Know” is the sixth most common verb in English, and although it is often used in sentences such as “I know how to ride a bike” and “I know your friend Jane,” a large chunk of its use is taken up by claims of knowing something to be the case. One worry about skepticism is that, if true, it would require a dramatic revision in the way we think and talk.
5 grat unsolved philosophical questions | OUPblog