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Stanley Cavell's American DreamShakespeare, Philosophy, and Hollywood Movies$
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Lawrence F. Rhu

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225965

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823225965.001.0001

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From Skepticism to Perfectionism

From Skepticism to Perfectionism

Chapter:
(p.83) 3 From Skepticism to Perfectionism
Source:
Stanley Cavell's American Dream
Author(s):

Lawrence F. Rhu

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823225965.003.0004

In this chapter the author describes Stanley Cavell's reception of Renaissance skepticism as he begins to characterize the Renaissance mode of thought and proceeds to show the ways that Cavell has made use of Montaigne and Descartes to respond to Shakespearean tragedy. Eventually, through the use of Emerson's influence upon Cavell, it helps to explain the evolving manner of skepticism and tragedy along with his response to these phenomena in Shakespeare and philosophy. Cavell's skepticism emphasizes the problem of other minds rather than a doubt about the external world, as well as how it inspires the response of perfectionism. This chapter describes the Renaissance reception of Plato, which Cavell pointedly uses to illustrate the fundamental features of perfectionism.

Keywords:   Renaissance skepticism, Shakespearean tragedy, skepticism, tragedy, philosophy, perfectionism

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