Self-knowledge and scepticism

Erkenntnis 40 (2):165-184 (1994)
Donald Davidson has argued that 'most of our beliefs must be true' and that global scepticism is therefore false. Davidson's arguments to this conclusion often seem to depend on externalist considerations. Davidson's position has been criticised, however, on the grounds that he does not defeat the sceptic, but rather already assumes the falsity of scepticism through his appeal to externalism. Indeed, it has been claimed that far from defeating the sceptic Davidson introduces an even more extreme version of scepticism according to which we cannot even know the contents of our own minds. This paper argues that these criticisms are mistaken and that Davidson does indeed have grounds to argue that scepticism is false. The externalism that figures in Davidson's antisceptical arguments is shown to be merely an element in Davidson's overall holism according to which the very possibility of having beliefs that could be true or false depends on most of those beliefs being true and their contents known.
Keywords Epistemology  Externalism  Scepticism  Self-knowledge  Davidson, D
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF01128591
 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
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,938
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
Donald Davidson (1987). Knowing One's Own Mind. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 60 (3):441-458.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

42 ( #79,152 of 1,725,631 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #81,222 of 1,725,631 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

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