Nevertheless, when we cannot specify how a statement may actually be false it has a special methodological status for us, according to Putnam—it is contextually a priori . In these circumstances, he suggests, it is epistemically reasonable for us to accept the statement without evidence and hold it immune from disconfirmation.
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; 1. Brains in a vat Anthony Brueckner; 2. Scepticism, objectivity, and brains in vats Gary Ebbs; 3. Ebbs on scepticism, objectivity, and brains in vats Anthony Brueckner; 4. The dialectical context of Putnam's argument that we are not brains in vats Gary Ebbs; 5. Trying to get outside your own skin Anthony Brueckner; 6. Can we take our words at face value? Gary Ebbs; 7. Is scepticism about self-knowledge incoherent? Anthony Brueckner; 8. Is scepticism about (...) self-knowledge coherent? Gary Ebbs; 9. The coherence of scepticism about self-knowledge Anthony Brueckner; 10. Why scepticism about self-knowledge is self-undermining Gary Ebbs; 11. Scepticism about self-knowledge redux Anthony Brueckner; 12. Self-knowledge in doubt Gary Ebbs; 13. Looking back Anthony Brueckner; Bibliography; Index. (shrink)
According to the standard story (a) W. V. Quine’s criticisms of the idea that logic is true by convention are directed against, and completely undermine, Rudolf Carnap’s idea that the logical truths of a language L are the sentences of L that are true-in- L solely in virtue of the linguistic conventions for L , and (b) Quine himself had no interest in or use for any notion of truth by convention. This paper argues that (a) and (b) are both (...) false. Carnap did not endorse any truth-by-convention theses that are undermined by Quine’s technical observations. Quine knew this. Quine’s criticisms of the thesis that logic is true by convention are not directed against a truth-by-convention thesis that Carnap actually held, but are part of Quine’s own project of articulating the consequences of his scientific naturalism. Quine found that logic is not true by convention in any naturalistically acceptable sense. But he also observed that in set theory and other highly abstract parts of science we sometimes deliberately adopt postulates with no justification other than that they are elegant and convenient. For Quine such postulations constitute a naturalistically acceptable and fallible sort of truth by convention. It is only when an act of adopting a postulate is not indispensible to natural science that Quine sees it as affording truth by convention ‘unalloyed’. A naturalist who accepts Quine’s notion of truth by convention is therefore not limited (as naturalists are often thought to be) to accepting only those postulates that she regards as indispensible to natural science. (shrink)
In two previous papers I explained why I believe that a certain sort of argument that seems to support skepticism about self-knowledge is actually self-undermining, in the sense that no one can justifiably accept all of its premises at once. Anthony Brueckner has recently tried to show that even if the central premises of my explanation are true, the skeptical argument in question is not self-undermining. He has also suggested that even if the skeptical argument is self-undermining, it can still (...) serve as a _reductio ad absurdum of the assumption that we have self-knowledge. My goal in this paper is to explain why I think neither of these responses is successful. (shrink)
In previous work I argued that skepticism about the compatibility ofanti-individualism with self-knowledge is incoherent. Anthony Brueckner isnot convinced by my argument, for reasons he has recently explained inprint. One premise in Brueckner's reasoning is that a person'sself-knowledge is confined to what she can derive solely from herfirst-person experiences of using her sentences. I argue that Brueckner'sacceptance of this premise undermines another part of his reasoning â hisattempt to justify his claims about what thoughts our sincere utterances ofcertain sentences would (...) express in various possible worlds. I describe aweird possible world in which a person who uses Brueckner's reasoning endsup with false beliefs about what thoughts her sincere utterances of certainsentences would express in various possible worlds. I recommend that wereject Brueckner's problematic conception of self-knowledge, and adopt onethat better fits the way we actually ascribe self-knowledge. (shrink)