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Reviews181 cause Parmenides affirms Socrates' assertion of forms, the hearer will not reject the theory of forms; yet because the youthful Socrates is genuinely perplexed by Parmenides' questions, the hearer cannot accept the theory as Socrates presendy affirms it" (p. 43). The hearer must develop a formal vocabulary with a precise account of distinctions like one/many, same/other, is/is not, part/whole in order to save the theory from Parmenides' objections. The book ends with an epilogue in which Miller discusses some unanswered questions. One of these concerns the Parmenides' silence on the form which the Republic singles out for special attention. The conversion of the soul in the Republic is toward the brightest of things: the Good. If the hypotheses in the Parmenides occasion this conversion, why is the Good ignored? Miller admits that his reading of die Parmenides leaves open two lines of interpretation: (a) the development of the theory of forms has progressed to a point where the primacy of the Good has been dropped, or (b) the Good is conspicuous by its absence, an absence which implies criticism of the hypothetical training displayed in the Parmenides. I prefer the second alternative. So I wish Miller's reading did not lend itself to either one. Still, I must express admiration for the book and hope that Miller's treatment ofthe final ascentwill come in another work. Northwestern UniversityKenneth Seeskin PhUosophy in Question: Essays on a Pyrrhonian Theme, by David R. Hiley; ? & 207 pp. Chicago: University ofChicago Press, 1988, $24.95. One of the key forces recendy changing the way we think about knowledge is the movement now generally called antifoundationalism, which argues that all forms ofknowledge are contingent, situated endeavors and nothing provides a ground or acontextual foundation for those forms of knowledge. The work ofThomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, three key figures in Philosophy in Question, all tend—explicidy or implicidy—in this direction. One question that was quickly posed about antifoundationalism was the question of consequences : if there is no escape from the contingent to the true, then must we simply accept our practices as we find them? Ifnot, on whatbasis can we criticize them? David Hiley's key insight in Philosophy in Question—and it is an important one—is that this is not a new set of questions. Antifoundationalism is only die latest in a series of related challenges to die claims philosophy makes for itself and for reason, and these challenges date back to Pyrrhonian skepticism in the 182Philosophy and Literature classical period. In the modern period, after Descartes and Hume, skepticism became primarily a technical problem for philosophy: how can we know and how can we be certain that we know? But Hiley argues that historically the skeptical challenge has been above all a moral one, and this is why Hiley relates it so strongly to the contemporary questioning of philosophy and reason by Rorty, Foucault, and others. The question posed by these figures is not so much how do we know as what is at stake in our claims to knowledge? Once more, Foucault wants to ask an apparendy more radical set of questions about the cost of our knowing. I think the historical perspective Hiley has on these issues is a sound one, and I appreciate his willingness and ability to relate historical scholarship to issues of contemporary debate. I wish the historical trajectory he sketched at the beginning from Sextus Empiricus through Montaigne, Hume, and Rousseau would have been more detailed. But he does bring this historical context to bear on his discussion ofantifoundationalism carefully and cogendy, showing that the Pyrrhonian tradition argues that to abandon a search for knowledge or grounds means precisely to accept our practices as we have them, as indeed Pyrrhonian skeptics feel we should. Disciples of Foucault and others who claim aradical, destabilizing force for theircritique ofrationality and objectivity should be aware that they are not the first to articulate such a critique and, more importandy, that historically their assumptions have not been borne out, that the abandonmentofthe Platonic dream ofreason has led to a quietisi acceptance of things as diey are. And by showing us that in some senses we...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 181-182
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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