Scepticism, context and modal reasoning

Acta Analytica 19 (33):9-30 (2004)
I analyze some classical solutions of the skeptical argument and some of their week points (especially the contextualist solution). First I have proposed some possible improvement of the contextualist solution (the introduction of the explicit-implicit belief and knowledge distinction beside the differences in the relevance of some counter-factual alternatives). However, this solution does not block too fast jumps of the everyday context (where empirical knowledge is possible) into skeptical context (where empirical knowledge is impossible). Then I analyze some formal analogies between some modal arguments on the contingency of empirical facts (and the world as whole) and the skeptical arguments against empirical knowledge. I try to show that the skeptical conclusion “Empirical knowledge does not exist” is logically coherent with the thesis that they are empirical facts and that we have true belief on them. In order to do that without contradictions I have to accept a non-classical definition of knowledge: S knows that p:= S is not justified to allow that non-p. Knowledge and justified allowance function here as some pseudo-theoretical concepts which allow only some partial and conditional definitions by some “empirical” terms and logical conditions.
Keywords skepticism  knowledge  context  explicit  implicit  contingency  allowance
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-004-1009-4
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