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Walking the Tightrope of ReasonThe Precarious Life of a Rational Animal$
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Robert Fogelin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195177541.001.0001

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Last Words

Last Words

Chapter:
(p.163) Chapter Seven Last Words
Source:
Walking the Tightrope of Reason
Author(s):

Robert Fogelin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195177541.003.0008

This chapter shows that for Hume, contexts in which radically skeptical doubts emerge and contexts in which our beliefs are generated by natural instincts are not discrete, isolated domains. Each influences the other. Without the powerful force of natural belief, nothing can stop reason's inevitable slide into forlorn skepticism. Without the humbling force of skeptical doubts, nothing prevents our thoughts from going beyond their natural limits into the land of illusions. It is only through the pursuit of abstruse philosophy that we can gain a proper understanding of our cognitive limitations, an understanding that will allow us, in Hume's words, “to live at ease ever after.”

Keywords:   Hume, skepticism, doubt

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