Barry Stroud, the Challenge of Philosophical Scepticism, and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction Analytical Essay by Righter

Barry Stroud, the Challenge of Philosophical Scepticism, and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction
This is an essay that concerns Barry Stroud's views on philosophical scepticism, causation, and metaphysical dissatisfaction.
# 153821 | 5,667 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2014 | US
Published on Feb 09, 2014 in Philosophy (Epistemology)

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In this essay, the writer attempts to describe what exactly is the sceptical challenge according to Barry Stroud, and to defend Stroud's position, which asserts that scepticism remains a particularly menacing problem for any epistemological endeavors. First, the writer looks at Stroud's idea of philosophy and how scepticism relates to his overall philosophical project; secondly, the writer presents G.E. Moore's famous argument against scepticism, as outlined in his essay, "Proof of an External World," and supplies the reader with a summary of Stroud's response to that argument; and third, in order to explicate upon his opinions about philosophy and scepticism, the writer also examines Stroud's thoughts on causation, as they are presented in his book, Engagement and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction. Finally, throughout the course of the essay, the arguement is made, both implicitly and explicitly, that Stroud's analysis of the significance of the sceptical challenge and what it entails is accurate.

From the Paper:

"When asked the question, "What is philosophy?" Stroud initially hesitates because he
recognizes the difficulties involved in successfully answering such a question. Nevertheless, he does respond by saying that one ought to treat the question, as opposed to merely answering it. Hearkening back to Wittgenstein's appraisal of philosophy, Stroud describes the philosophical method as one that is essentially therapeutic; just as a doctor treats an illness and (hopefully) helps bring health back to a sick person, the philosopher must likewise properly treat a philosophical question. It is easy to convey the idea of a physician treating a patient with an illness, but how does one efficaciously treat a question? First, the thought seems to be that treating a question is, for both Wittgenstein and Stroud, antithetical to simply answering it; there is much more complexity involved with providing treatment (whether in the hospital or in the
lecture hall) than with providing matter of fact solutions. Stroud's emphasis on questioning over answering, and philosophical uncertainty over certainty, is an important and essential aspect of his opinions on the nature of philosophy."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bridges, Jason et al. The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding: Reflections on the Thought
  • of Barry Stroud. Oxford Online. 2011.
  • Khlentzos, Drew. "Review of Barry Stroud's Engagement and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction:
  • Modality and Value." Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Notre Dame, IN: 2011.
  • Moore, G.E. "Proof of an External World."

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