Skepticism, Question Begging, and Burden Shifting

The most powerful skeptical challenge to knowledge and justification is Pyrrhonian. It challenges nonskeptics to identify non-question begging warrant for their beliefs whereby they will not simply assume a point needing support in light of skeptical questions. The skeptical challenge is comprehensive, bearing on warranting conditions in general. Any answer given to such a comprehensive challenge apparently relies on a warranting condition being questioned. From this two questions emerge. First, is the skeptical challenge itself question begging in a way that undermines its epistemic significance? Second, is question begging necessarily an epistemic defect? This paper answers no to the first question, and identifies the problem facing skeptics who presuppose an affirmative answer to the second question. The problem stems from the availability of certain conceptions of epistemic rationality that do not prohibit question begging unqualifiedly
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Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1999). Begging the Question. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (2):174 – 191.

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