Skepticism & Ideology: Shelley's Political Prose and Its by Terence A. Hoagwood

By Terence A. Hoagwood

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Heracleitus of Ephesus Horses would draw pictures of gods like horses, and oxen of gods like oxen. Xenophanes of Colophon Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. Ecclesiastes When the bastard can do no moreneither see more minutely, nor hear, nor smell, nor taste, nor perceive by touchand a finer investigation is needed, then the genuine comes in as having a tool for distinguishing more finely.

Reiman answered queries, talked helpfully with me on matters Shelleyan and skeptical, and guided me to documents that I would not otherwise have known. Robert Boenig has been generously helpful in matters involving the classical Greek. Members of graduate seminars that I conducted at West Virginia University and at Texas A&M University provided enjoyable and productive discussions of issues relevant to this book: Gale Acuff, Martina Domico, and Marjean Purinton were among them. I want also to thank three audiences, critical and kind, for their responses to portions of this book's argument: the Washington Area Romanticists Group (especially Pat Story, Neil Fraistat, and Joseph Sitterson), the Southeastern Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, and the Interdisciplinary Group for Historical Literary Study at Texas A&M.

That larger philosophical spectrum is the skeptical tradition, involving a set of philosophical methods, tendencies, and procedures that I shall identify and illustrate in Chapter 1. Skeptical methods characterize, in one way or another, some of the most influential philosophical work from the pre-Socratics through the Renaissance. Skeptical argumentation also appears, though differently, in Descartes, Hume, Kant, Marx, and many philosophers of our own lifetime. That claim, however, must constantly be qualified by a principle that makes up one of the methodological assumptions of this book: that every articulation is conditioned importantly by its own historical specificity.

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