Moorean responses to skepticism: a defense [Book Review]

Philosophical Studies 154 (1):1 - 25 (2011)
Few philosophers believe that G. E. Moore's notorious proof of an external world can give us justification to believe that skepticism about perceptual beliefs is false. The most prominent explanation of what is wrong with Moore's proof—as well as some structurally similar anti-skeptical arguments—centers on conservatism: roughly, the view that someone can acquire a justified belief that p on the basis of E only if he has p-independent justification to believe that all of the skeptical hypotheses that undermine the support lent by E to p are false. In this paper I argue that conservatism does not make trouble for Moore's proof. I do this by setting up a dilemma concerning the notion of "justification to believe" that figures in conservatism. On one understanding of justification to believe, conservatism is subject to obvious counterexamples. On another understanding of justification to believe, conservatism is consistent with Moore's "proof conferring justification upon its conclusion. Since these two understandings exhaust the logical space, the conservative indictment of Mooreanism fails
Keywords Mooreanism  Dogmatism  Skepticism  Propositional justification  Bayesianism
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Stewart Cohen (2002). Basic Knowledge and the Problem of Easy Knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (2):309-329.

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