The skeptic chuckles darkly

Steven Poole’s review of Jennifer Nagel’s Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction is a nice overview of what we can know about what we can know. “Does any of this really matter to non-philosophers? Yes, and for two kinds of reason. The first kind is sociopolitical. Arguments about what kind of testimony (eg from scientific experts) we can trust, and therefore gain knowledge from, are evidently germane to major public issues such as global warming. … The second kind of reason for why thinking about knowledge might be important is more personal. It boils down to this: how worried are you about whether you are a brain in a vat? Versions of this idea have been put about through history by that imp of the perverse known as the sceptic. The sceptic insists that knowledge of anything at all is impossible.”

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