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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Spinoza never discusses the scenario of radical skepticism as it was introduced by Descartes. Why not? This chapter argues that he chooses a preventive strategy: instead of taking the skeptical challenge as it is and trying to refute it, he questions the challenge itself and gives a diagnosis of its origin. It is a combination of semantic atomism, dualism, and anti-naturalism that gives rise to radical doubts. Spinoza attacks these basic assumptions, opting instead for semantic holism, anti-dualism, and naturalism. This crucial shift of basic assumptions prevents radical skepticism from arising. To be sure, local doubts are still possible, but the possibility of global doubt is ruled out. The chapter examines this preventive strategy, situating it in the historical context and building a bridge to more recent anti-skeptical strategies.

Keywords: atomism, dualism, holism, naturalism, skepticism

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