The Limits of Epistemology

October 31, 2020
The Limits of Epistemology

At the centre of modern epistemology lurks the problem ofscepticism: how can we know that the forms of our cognition arecompatible with the world? How can we state success conditions forknowledge claims without somehow transcending our discursive andfallible nature as knowers?By distinguishing different forms of scepticism, Markus Gabrielshows how all objective knowledge relies on shared discourses andhow the essential corrigibility of knowledge claims is a crucialcondition of their objectivity. We should understand scepticism notso much as posing a threat, but as offering a vital lesson aboutthe fallibility of discursive thinking. By heeding this lesson, wecan begin to reintegrate the solipsistic subject of modernepistemology back into the community of actual knowers.Taking his cue from Hegel, Wittgenstein and Brandom, Gabrielshows how intentionality as such is a public rather than a privatephenomenon. He concedes that the sceptic can prove the necessaryfinitude of objective knowledge, but denies that this has to leadus into an aporia. Instead, it shows us the limits of the modernproject of epistemology.Through an examination of different kinds of scepticalparadoxes, Gabriel not only demonstrates their indispensable rolewithin epistemological theorising, but also argues for thenecessary failure of all totalizing knowledge claims. In this way,epistemology, as the discipline that claims knowledge aboutknowledge, begins to grasp its own fallibility and, as a result,the true nature of its objectivity.The Limits of Epistemology will be of great value to studentsand scholars of philosophy.