David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Theoria 70 (1):62-97 (2004)
It may be possible to scientifically test philosophical skepticism; at least this is what I shall maintain. The argument develops the naturalistic insight that there may be no particular reason to suppose that nature has selected Homo sapiens’ epistemic capacities such that we are ideally suited to forming a true theory of everything, or indeed, a true theory of much of anything. Just as chimpanzees are cognitively limited - there are many concepts, ideas, and theories beyond their grasp - so too might our conception of the universe seem limited from the point of view of some creature more “evolved” than humans. On the other hand, some physicists (et al.) have argued that humans are on the verge of discovering a “final theory of everything”. Such epistemic “optimism” seems to directly contradict the idea that we might be cognitively limited. To adjudicate between these views I shall suggest the outlines of several “crucial tests” that involve attempting to create creatures who stand to us, with respect to intelligence and wisdom, as we do to apes. A positive result from any of these experiments will indicate that the skeptical view is correct, while failure to create “higher” intelligences lends support to the epistemic optimists’ position. 2.
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Mark A. Walker & M. Milan (2006). Astrophysical Fine Tuning, Naturalism, and the Contemporary Design Argument. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (3):285 – 307.
Similar books and articles
Mark Walker (2002). The Fourfold Root of Philosophical Skepticism. Sorites 14 (1):85-109.
Linton Wang & Oliver Tai (2010). Skeptical Conclusions. Erkenntnis 72 (2):177 - 204.
Manuel Vargas (2004). Libertarianism and Skepticism About Free Will: Some Arguments Against Both. Philosophical Topics 32 (1&2):403-26.
Paul Kurtz (2010). Exuberant Skepticism. Prometheus Books 59 John Glenn Drive.
Stephen Maitzen (2006). The Impossibility of Local Skepticism. Philosophia 34 (4):453-464.
Peter J. Graham (2007). The Theoretical Diagnosis of Skepticism. Synthese 158 (1):19 - 39.
Wai-Hung Wong (2011). What the Skeptic Still Can't Learn From How We Use the Word 'Know'. In J. Bridges, N. Kolodny & W. Wong (eds.), The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding: Reflections on the Thought of Barry Stroud. Oxford University Press.
Dylan Dodd (2012). Evidentialism and Skeptical Arguments. Synthese 189 (2):337-352.
Added to index2009-06-28
Total downloads13 ( #136,537 of 1,409,981 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #107,552 of 1,409,981 )
How can I increase my downloads?