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Wittgensteinian Epistemology, Epistemic Vertigo, and Pyrrhonian Skepticism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEpistemology After Sextus Empiricus
EditorsKatja Maria Vogt, Justin Vlasits
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190946333
ISBN (Print)9780190946302
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020


In On Certainty, Wittgenstein offers a radical conception of the structure of rational evaluation, such that all rational evaluations are essentially local in that they necessarily occur relative to arational hinge certainties. Support is canvassed for the following claims: (1) that a Wittgensteinian epistemology, while the antidote to a certain formulation of Cartesian skepticism, is entirely compatible, including in spirit, with Pyrrhonian skepticism; (2) that the philosophical quietism which provides the wider context for Wittgenstein’s epistemology is very much in keeping with the core nature of Pyrrhonian skeptical techniques; and (3) that a Wittgensteinian epistemology sits very well alongside a particular way of thinking about Pyrrhonian skepticism such that it is primarily directed at our specifically theoretical commitments. As we will see, a key element to understanding how the Wittgensteinian line against Cartesian skepticism can be allied to a Pyrrhonian skepticism is the notion of epistemic vertigo.

    Research areas

  • epistemic vertigo, hinge commitment, Pyrrhonian skepticism, radical skepticism, Wittgenstein

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