Skepticism and Ideology
"This is a first-rate book, especially fresh and interesting…The way Hoagwood situates Shelley's ideas in the context of skeptical and dialectical thinking is innovative and extremely fruitful. This book will be a valuable guide for students of Shelley's writing."—Michael Scrivener
Skepticism and Ideology will be welcomed by all Shelley scholars, for it explores Shelley's philosophical ideas on their own terms, giving rise to new interpretations of his prose and articulating the larger philosophical spectrum in which his work takes an intelligible place.
Building on recent philosophical scholarship, Terence Hoagwood offers both a conceptual analysis of skepticism and an account of its development in specific historical contexts, from the pre-Socratics to Hume, Marx, and Derrida. He analyzes concepts of probability, the criteria of truth, and arguments of relativity, signs, and the relationship of "common sense" to political power. He then examines Marxist forms of dialectic, showing how Marxist theories of ideology arise as a variety of skeptical method.
These historical and dialectical methods bring about a new and significantly different understanding of Shelley, a thinker too long relegated to poetic discourse. Using both conceptual analysis and historical methods, Hoagwood produces not only a new and thorough account of Shelley's thought but also an important theoretical statement, defining the dialectical frame in which that body of thought takes its place.