Scepticism, epistemic luck, and epistemic angst

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):185 – 205 (2005)
Abstract
A commonly expressed worry in the contemporary literature on the problem of epistemological scepticism is that there is something deeply intellectually unsatisfying about the dominant anti-sceptical theories. In this paper I outline the main approaches to scepticism and argue that they each fail to capture what is essential to the sceptical challenge because they fail to fully understand the role that the problem of epistemic luck plays in that challenge. I further argue that scepticism is best thought of not as a quandary directed at our possession of knowledge simpliciter, but rather as concerned with a specific kind of knowledge that is epistemically desirable. On this view, the source of scepticism lies in a peculiarly epistemic form of angst. It is always by favour of Nature that one knows something. [Wittgenstein 1969: §505].
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    References found in this work BETA
    T. Black (2002). A Moorean Response to Brain-in-a-Vat Scepticism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (2):148 – 163.
    Keith DeRose (2000). How Can We Know That We're Not Brains in Vats? Southern Journal of Philosophy 38 (S1):121-148.
    Keith DeRose (1995). Solving the Skeptical Problem. Philosophical Review 104 (1):1-52.

    View all 21 references

    Citations of this work BETA
    Martin Smith (2009). Transmission Failure Explained. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1):164-189.

    View all 6 citations

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