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By Nicholas Unwin (auth.)

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Most importantly, we are now free from a very strong and damaging form of sceptical argument, even though we are required to yield some ground. The fact that our refashioned ‘beliefs’ and ‘assertions’ (for want of better names) are justifiable only through our own contingent natures, and have no global authority, is now no longer a problem. Having abandoned UUP, we no longer attempt to invest them with such authority, and in consequence may, at last, declare that we have abandoned the ‘God’s eye view’ or ‘Olympian standpoint’ that is so rightly disparaged but seldom explained.

This ensures that it is notoriously difficult to decide whether Hume is really a sceptic. In so far as he denies that our beliefs can be given a rational foundation, he evidently is one. However, unlike the Pyrrhonists, he firmly rejects the suggestion that we should therefore abandon them. Whereas the former thought that suspension of judgement would inevitably follow from sceptical argument, Hume insists that our minds are just impervious to such influences, except perhaps for very short periods of time.

It is a moot point whether the ancient sceptics would agree with this last claim. J. Hankinson claims that The Sceptic ‘says nothing’ only in a special sense. 5 This suggests that what is proposed is a replacement of one kind of judgement by another, which is, of course, our own view. What is not 40 Aiming at Truth suggested, however, is that the sceptic may continue to make apangeliai about the reality of things, confident that since they are only apangeliai (and not full-blooded truth-directed assertions) they are immune from the justificatory difficulties that led us to scepticism.

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