Knowing one's mind

Abstract
In one of the more compelling introductions to philosophy, Bertrand Russell begins with this question: “Is there any knowledge in the world that is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?” (Presumably he means to include women.) “So certain that no reasonable man could doubt it.” And it’s a good question to begin an introduction to philosophy with, because so often, philosophy is in the mode of skepticism, so often it’s in the mode of offering a critical assessment of conventional wisdom. So, Russell wonders, is there anything so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it. And when we embark on this question, I suppose we have to ask about the question itself, we have to wonder what Russell’s talking about—right? We have to wonder what certainty is. So, what is certainty? It can’t merely be powerful confidence, it can’t merely be something like the assurance that we feel for ordinary knowledge claims. After all, there are lots of things that I know: I know that two plus two is four, I know that water is H2O, I know that I’m standing here before you. But I’d balk if you pressed me and asked me whether I was certain about these things—well, I don’t know if I’m certain about these things, I believe them on what I take is good evidence, I have a considerable confidence in these claims, I’d even bet a whole lot on at least some of them, but certain about it? I’m not sure about that. So we have to ask: what more is required than our confidence, then something like reasonable belief on plausible evidence? What’s certainty?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,365
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Ernest Sosa (2010). The Epistemology of Disagreement. In Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oup Oxford.
Susan Dimock (2008). Reasonable Women in the Law. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 11 (2):153-175.
Jonathan Schaffer (2007). Knowing the Answer. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):383-403.
Jim Stone (2000). Skepticism as a Theory of Knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (3):527-545.
Jay G. Williams (2008). Absolute Skepticism, Lao Zi and Krishnamurti. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 51:23-29.
Roger White (2005). Epistemic Permissiveness. Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):445–459.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-12-22

Total downloads

11 ( #113,077 of 1,089,105 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #69,981 of 1,089,105 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.