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Reviews

"An ambitious and excellent study, The Specter of Skepticism in the Age of Enlightenment is an important reminder that every movement in the history of ideas or philosophy needs to be understood in terms of who is debating with it, and why."

"Elegantly written and broadly informed, this sophisticated study of 18th-century efforts to secure "reason" against the onslaught of "doubt" will be essential reading for anyone interested in the European Enlightenment and its aftermath. With insight and erudition, Matytsin explores an essential context for understanding 18th-century thought—the persistent specter of skepticism—showing us that the so-called "Age of Reason" was also a critical and creative "Age of Doubt.""

"While we reflexively apply Kant’s adage, "dare to know," to the Enlightenment, Anton Matytsin argues, in this brilliant and recondite book, that eighteenth-century philosophy is better understood as a response to the opposite injunction: the skeptical call "not to know," and to doubt all knowledge. Faced with the prospect of general uncertainty, Enlightenment philosophers devised new arguments and probabilistic methods for grounding knowledge. This book will be required reading for anyone grappling with questions about epistemology in the so-called Age of Reason."

"... enriching study of previously neglected sources of epistemological transformation during the Enlightenment ear. Matytsin's work uncovers a dialectical pathway in which interchanges between skeptics and their opponents formed a new conception of reason, sufficiently modest to have relinquished metaphysics, but sufficiently bold to motivate the encyclopedists' expansive ambitions, and to play a formative role in establishing the modern disciplinary structure of knowledge."

"The Specter of Skepticism in the Age of Enlightenment is an admirable exercise in intellectual history, free of the assumption that the Enlightenment has, by definition, to be shown to be the origins of the modern secular liberal world."