By the time of his death in 2006, Sir Peter Strawson was regarded as one of the world's most distinguished philosophers. Unavailable for many years, Scepticism and Naturalism is a profound reflection on two classic philosophical problems by a philosopher at the pinnacle of his career.
Based on his acclaimed Woodbridge lectures delivered at Columbia University in 1983, Strawson begins with a discussion of scepticism, which he defines as questioning the adequacy of our grounds for holding various beliefs. He then draws deftly on Hume and Wittgenstein to argue that we must distinguish between 'hard', scientific naturalism; or 'soft', humanistic naturalism. In the remaining chapters the author takes up several issues in which sceptical doubts play an important role, in particular the nature of transcendental arguments and including the objectivity of moral philosophy, the mental and the physical, and the existence of abstract entities.
Scepticism and Naturalism is essential reading for those seeking an introduction to the work of one of the twentieth century’s most important and original philosophers.
This reissue includes a substantial new foreword by Quassim Cassam and a fascinating intellectual autobiography by Strawson, which together form an excellent introduction to his life and work.
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‘If one man were to be singled out as personifying Oxford analytic philosophy over the past thirty years, Sir Peter would be that person. In all these four lectures. . .he weighs in four traditional arenas of philosophical contention. In one arena the existence of external objects is at stake, in the other the grounds of morality, in a third the status of mentalistic language, and in the fourth the existence of abstract objects.’ New York Review of Books
‘It is a delight to have this book before us. At a level of considerable abstractness an important idea is put to work in the sure hands of a master to illuminate extremely difficult questions at the centre of philosophy.’ The Times Literary Supplement
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