About this topic

Cartesian skepticism is the problem of explaining how knowledge of (or justified belief about) the external world is possible given the challenge that we cannot know (or justifiably believe) the denials of skeptical hypotheses. The problem has its source in Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, and in particular, the First Meditation. In general, a Cartesian skeptical hypothesis is a possibility which is incompatible with the truth of what we believe about the world (or incompatible with what we believe being knowledge), but which is indistinguishable from what we take to be our normal circumstances, where our beliefs are not systematically false (or systematically unknowable). For example, in the First Meditation, Descartes considers the hypothesis that there is a powerful evil demon who renders his beliefs about the world false, while making it seem to him just as if they are true. The challenge Descartes raises is: how can we know that the evil demon hypothesis is false, if such a scenario is indistinguishable from what we take to be our actual scenario? Skepticism about the external world, then, is the thesis that knowledge of (or justified belief) about the external world is impossible. And a proponent of this form of skepticism is a Cartesian skeptic if they appeal to skeptical hypotheses in order to show that we cannot know (or justifiably believe) anything about the external world. The Cartesian skeptical argument is often presented as follows: (1) if we know that a proposition about the external world P is true, then we know the denial of the skeptical hypothesis SH. But (2) we do not (or cannot) know the denial of SH. Therefore, (3) we do not (or cannot) know that P. We can organize the literature on Cartesian skepticism around two central areas of focus: (a) the nature and structure of Cartesian skeptical arguments, and (b) responses to the Cartesian skeptical argument. Epistemologists are divided on the nature of the Cartesian skeptical argument. Proponents of the closure-principle formulation of the Cartesian skeptical argument maintain that the argument depends on a suitable closure principle for knowledge or justification. Proponents of the underdetermination-principle formulation maintain that the argument depends on a suitable underdetermination principle. Responses to the Cartesian skeptical argument can be divided into those which maintain that premise (1) is defective and those which maintain that premise (2) is defective. Moorean's reject premise (2), and argue that since we can know that P (e.g., I have two hands), and we know that P implies that SH is false, we are in a position to know that SH is false. Externalist Moorean’s reject premise (2), and argue that we can know that P if our believing that P is the product of a reliable belief-forming process (reliabilism), or if our belief that P is safe (safety theories). We can thus make a knowledge-preserving deduction from P to the denial of SH. Knowledge-first varieties reject premise (2), and argue that our evidence for P in our actual case is different from our evidence in the case in which SH is true, because our evidence is what we know, and in the actual case, we know that P, whereas, in SH, we do not know that P. Internalist Moorean's reject premise (2), and argue that our perceptual experiences provide us with knowledge (or justification) to believe P, and so deduce ~SH. Dogmatist varieties argue that these perceptual experiences alone provide us with prima facie justification to believe P, even though the strength of this justification is the same in the actual case as it is in the case in which SH is true. Epistemological Disjunctivist’s argue that the strength of the epistemic justification is different in the actual case than the case in which SH is true, and that the strength of our justification in our actual case is factive and accessible to us. A priorist’s reject premise (2), and argue that we can know that SH is false, even though this is not grounded in empirical evidence or reasons. Entitlement varieties ague that we have a default, non-evidential entitlement to reject SH. A priori argument varieties argue that there is an a priori argument for the conclusion that SH is false (e.g., from considerations about meaning or content). Explanationist’s reject premise (2), and argue that SH fails to explain our experiential evidence and beliefs better than what we take to be our actual scenario. Tracking theorist’s reject premise (1), and argue that our belief that P can track its truth even though our belief that SH is false fails to track its truth. Relevant alternatives theorist’s argue that SH is not a relevant epistemic alternative to P, so that even though our evidence is not sufficient for rejecting SH, it is sufficient for P. Contextualist’s argue that the truth-conditions of our knowledge-ascriptions are sensitive to context, allowing that, in ordinary contexts, ascriptions of “S knows that P” can be true even though, in skeptical contexts, ascriptions of “S knows that P” are false.

Key works

For the original presentation of Cartesian skepticism and the Cartesian skeptical argument, see Descartes 1996. For work on the nature of the Cartesian skeptical argument, see Unger 1975 , Nozick 1981, Stroud 1984, Williams 1991, and Pryor 2000. For work on closure-based and underdetermination-based formulations of the argument, see Yalçin 1992, Brueckner 1994, Cohen 1998, Vogel 2004, and Pritchard 2005. A classic response to Cartesian skepticism is Moore 1959. For Moorean responses from epistemic externalism, see Hill 1996, Sosa 1999, Greco 2007, and Pritchard 2005. For knowledge-first variants, see Williamson 2000. For dogmatist responses, see Pryor 2000, and Huemer 2000. For epistemological disjunctivist responses, see McDowell 2008 and Pritchard 2012. For explanationist responses, see Vogel 2005 and Vogel 1990. For entitlement responses, see Wright 2004. For a priori argument responses, see Kant 1998, Putnam 1981, and Davidson 1989. For truth-tracking responses, see Nozick 1981, and Zalabardo 2012. For relevant alternatives responses, see Dretske 1970 and Stine 1976. For contextualist responses, see Cohen 2000, Lewis 1996, and DeRose 1995.

Introductions For the historical context of Cartesian skepticism, see Bermúdez 2008 and Williams 2010. For introductions, see Stroud 1984 (Chapter 1), Luper 2011, Greco 2008, and Hazlett 2014. For collections, see DeRose & Warfield 1999. For recent work, see Pritchard 2002.
Related categories

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  1. added 2018-12-16
    Quatro Desafios Céticos ao Saber.Luis R. G. Oliveira - forthcoming - In Antonio José Pêcego (ed.), Direito e Filosofia: Em Busca do Saber. Uberlândia, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil:
    O ceticismo é por vezes descartado como uma doutrina absurda e merecedora do seu lugar distante na antiguidade. Nada poderia ser menos correto. O ceticismo continua extremamente relevante para o pensamento filosófico e científico de hoje, servindo como um lembrete de que a sabedoria não é barata nem segura. Nesse texto, o meu objetivo principal é reproduzir o raciocínio das discussões clássicas sobre o ceticismo, mas de uma maneira coloquial e contemporânea. Após seguir as linhas de pensamento de Sexto Empírico, (...)
  2. added 2018-10-02
    Epistemological Reflection on Knowledge of the External World.Review author[S.]: Barry Stroud - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (2):345-358.
  3. added 2018-09-06
    Descartes and the Suspension of Judgment–Considerations of Cartesian Skepticism and Epoché.Jan Forsman - 2018 - In Konstantinos Boudouris (ed.), Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy. Greek Philosophical Society. pp. 15-20.
    In this paper I will argue how Descartes in the First and Second Meditation of the Meditations uses a very clear suspension of judgments or assent that in many ways resembles the epoché of the ancient skepticism, especially that of pyrrhonistic variant. First I show how the pyrrhonistic epoché works and what purpose it was used. After that I show how this Cartesian epoché both resembles and differs from the ancient epoché. My main argument is that Descartes, when using the (...)
  4. added 2018-06-03
    A World Without a Past: New Challenges to Kant's Refutation of Idealism.Justin Remhof - 2018 - Southwest Philosophy Review 34 (1):171-180.
    In the Refutation of Idealism, Kant aims to defeat the Cartesian radical skeptical hypothesis that empirical reality might not exist and we cannot have knowledge of it. Kant intends to demonstrate that conscious experience presupposes direct experience of empirical reality. This paper presents new challenges to the conclusions Kant reaches in the Refutation. Kant’s argument turns on the claim that the past must exist, and my challenges concern the possibility that there is no past.
  5. added 2018-06-03
    Epistemology and External World Skepticism.Roger Vasquez - 2008 - Questions: Philosophy for Young People 8:13-13.
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    Evaluational Illusions and Skeptical Arguments.Steven L. Reynolds - 1998 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 58 (3):529-558.
    A traditional diagnosis of the error in the Cartesian skeptical arguments holds that they exploit our tendencies to take a representationalist view of perception. Thinking that we perceive only our own sensory states, it seems to us that our perceptual beliefs about physical objects must be justified qua explanations of those sensory states. Such justification requires us to have reasons to reject rival explanations, such as the skeptical hypotheses, which we lack. However, those who adopt the direct realist view of (...)
  7. added 2018-03-02
    Skepticism and Elegance.Kevin McCain - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (1):30-43.
    _ Source: _Page Count 14 Jonathan Vogel has argued in support of an explanationist response to skepticism in several works. Central to this explanationist response is the fact that our non-skeptical view of the world is a better explanation of our experiences than its skeptical rivals. Despite the plausibility of this response to skepticism, it is not without its critics. Recently, Matthew Gifford has argued that Vogel’s response has problems on two fronts. First, Gifford argues that Vogel’s strategy for showing (...)
  8. added 2018-03-02
    Chapter 2. Radical Skepticism and Underdetermination.Duncan Pritchard - 2016 - In Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing. Princeton University Press. pp. 29-60.
  9. added 2018-03-02
    Skepticism and Elegance.Kevin McCain - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (1):30-43.
    _ Source: _Page Count 14 Jonathan Vogel has argued in support of an explanationist response to skepticism in several works. Central to this explanationist response is the fact that our non-skeptical view of the world is a better explanation of our experiences than its skeptical rivals. Despite the plausibility of this response to skepticism, it is not without its critics. Recently, Matthew Gifford has argued that Vogel’s response has problems on two fronts. First, Gifford argues that Vogel’s strategy for showing (...)
  10. added 2018-03-02
    Skepticism: The Central Issues.Charles Landesman - 2002 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    This book presents and analyzes the most important arguments in the history of Western philosophy's skeptical tradition. It demonstrates that, although powerful, these arguments are quite limited and fail to prove their core assertion that knowledge is beyond our reach. Argues that skepticism is mistaken and that knowledge is possible Dissects the problems of realism and the philosophical doubts about the accuracy of the senses Explores the ancient argument against a criterion of knowledge, Descartes' skeptical arguments, and skeptical arguments applied (...)
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    The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism.Richard Feldman & Barry Stroud - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (2):305.
  12. added 2018-03-02
    Skepticism Without Indubitability.Margaret D. Wilson - 1984 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (10):537.
  13. added 2018-03-02
    Skepticism and Theories of Justification.Benjamin Franklin Armstrong - 1980 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
    An equally important part of the discussion concerns the role that doubt must play in inquiries about theories of justification. I argue that Chisholm's efforts to remove such considerations from these inquiries are mistaken. The importance of doubt is a point about which Wittgenstein has much to say in On Certainty. I try to bring to bear some of his insights. ;An important part of my discussion concerns where one is not to start when one is dealing with skeptical arguments. (...)
  14. added 2018-03-02
    Sceptical Essays.Bertrand Russell - 1928 - Routledge.
  15. added 2018-02-18
    Natural Doubts: Williams's Diagnosis Of Scepticism.Reid Buchanan - 2002 - Synthese 131 (1):57-80.
    Michael Williams believes that scepticism about the external world seems compelling only because the considerations that underpin it are thought to be "mere platitudes" about e.g., the nature and source of human knowledge, and hence, that if it shown through a "theoretical diagnosis" that it does not rest upon such platitudes, but contentious theoretical considerations that we are no means bound to accept, we can simply dismiss the absurd sceptical conclusion. Williams argues that scepticism does presuppose two extremely contentious doctrines, (...)
  16. added 2018-02-17
    A Closer Look at Closure Scepticism.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Paperback) 106 (3):381-390.
    The most prominent arguments for scepticism in modern epistemology employ closure principles of some kind. To begin my discussion of such arguments, consider Simple Knowledge Closure (SKC): (SKC) (Kxt[p] ∧ (p → q)) → Kxt[q].1 Assuming its truth for the time being, the sceptic can use (SKC) to reason from the two assumptions that, firstly, we don’t know ¬sh and that, secondly, op entails ¬sh to the conclusion that we don’t know op, where ‘op’ and ‘sh’ are shorthand for ‘ordinary (...)
  17. added 2018-02-17
    Descartes: Belief, Scepticism and Virtue.Richard Davies - 2001 - Routledge.
    Descartes is often regarded as the founder of modern philosophy, and is credited with placing at centre stage the question of what we know and how we know it. Descartes: Belief, Scepticism and Virtue seeks to reinsert his work and thought in its contemporary ethical and theological context. Richard Davies explores the much neglected notion of intellectual virtue as it applies to Descartes' inquiry as a whole. He examines the textual dynamics of Descartes' most famous writings in relation to background (...)
  18. added 2018-02-17
    ``Skepticism and Closure: Why the Evil Genius Argument Fails".Peter Klein - 1995 - Philosophical Topics 23 (1):213-236.
  19. added 2018-02-16
    Scepticism.Neil Gascoigne - 2001 - Routledge.
    The history of scepticism is assumed by many to be the history of failed responses to a problem first raised by Descartes. While the thought of the ancient sceptics is acknowledged, their principle concern with how to live a good life is regarded as bearing little, if any, relation to the work of contemporary epistemologists. In "Scepticism" Neil Gascoigne engages with the work of canonical philosophers from Descartes, Hume and Kant through to Moore, Austin, and Wittgenstein to show how themes (...)
  20. added 2018-01-22
    Ignorance and Knowledge: The Viability of Externalist Neo-Mooreanism as a Resonse to Radical Scepticism.John Asquith - 2017 - Dissertation, King's College London
    Here, I shall be examining the viability of a Moorean response to the Argument from Ignorance; i.e., one that tries to rebut the argument by denying its first premise that we cannot have knowledge that we are not BIVs. After first explicating the Argument from Ignorance in detail, I then go on to try and motivate this approach by critically examining two alternative approaches to dealing with radical scepticism: closure-denial, and attributer contextualism. Finding them wanting, I then turn to a (...)
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  21. added 2018-01-17
    Closure, Deduction and Hinge Commitments.Xiaoxing Zhang - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Duncan Pritchard recently proposed a Wittgensteinian solution to closure-based skepticism. According to Wittgenstein, all epistemic systems assume certain truths. The notions that we are not disembodied brains, that the Earth has existed for a long time and that one’s name is such-and-such all function as “hinge commitments.” Pritchard views a hinge commitment as a positive propositional attitude that is not a belief. Because closure principles concern only knowledge-apt beliefs, they do not apply to hinge commitments. Thus, from the fact that (...)
  22. added 2017-11-14
    Descartes's Method of Doubt.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    Enlightenment philosopher, René Descartes, set out to establish what could be known with certainty, untainted by a deceiving demon. With his method of doubt, he rejected all previous beliefs, allowing only those that survived rigorous scrutiny. In this essay, Leslie Allan examines whether Descartes's program of skeptical enquiry was successful in laying a firm foundation for our manifold beliefs. He subjects Descartes's conclusions to Descartes's own uncompromising methodology to determine whether Descartes escaped from a self-imposed radical skepticism.
  23. added 2017-11-07
    Skepticism: Historical and Contemporary Inquiries.G. Anthony Bruno & A. C. Rutherford (eds.) - 2018 - Routledge.
    Skepticism is one of the most enduring and profound of philosophical problems. With its roots in Plato and the Sceptics to Descartes, Hume, Kant and Wittgenstein, skepticism presents a challenge that every philosopher must reckon with. In this outstanding collection philosophers engage with skepticism in five clear sections: the philosophical history of skepticism in Greek, Cartesian and Kantian thought; the nature and limits of certainty; the possibility of knowledge and related problems such as perception and the debates between objective knowledge (...)
  24. added 2017-11-07
    Effective Skeptical Arguments.Christopher T. Buford & Anthony Brueckner - 2015 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 5 (1):55-60.
    _ Source: _Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 55 - 60 Peter Murphy has argued that effective skeptical scenarios all have the following feature: the subject involved in the scenario does not know that some ordinary proposition is true, even if the proposition is true in the scenario. So the standard “false belief” conception of skeptical scenarios is wrong, since the belief of the targeted proposition need not be mistaken in the scenario. Murphy then argues that this observation engenders a problem (...)
  25. added 2017-11-07
    The Problem of the Criterion, Skepticism, and the Cartesian Circle.Timo Kajamies - 2006 - SATS 7 (2).
  26. added 2017-11-07
    Review of Unnatural Doubts: Epistemological Realism and the Basis of Scepticism.Keith DeRose & Michael Williams - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (4):604.
  27. added 2017-11-03
    Skepticism and Spatial Objects.Ali Hasan - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (2):73-95.
    _ Source: _Page Count 24 I defend external world realism. I assume that the principle of inference to the best explanation is justified: roughly, a hypothesis that provides a better explanation of the total evidence is more probable than one that does not. I argue that the existence of a world of spatial objects provides a systematic explanation of the spatial contents of visual experience, and that it provides a better explanation than traditional skeptical hypotheses. This paper thus pursues the (...)
  28. added 2017-11-03
    Duncan Pritchard’s Epistemic Angst.John Greco - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (1):51-61.
    _ Source: _Page Count 11 _Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of our Believing_. By Duncan Pritchard. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2016. Pp. xv + 239. ISBN 978-0-691-16723-7.
  29. added 2017-10-16
    Design Hypotheses Behave Like Skeptical Hypotheses.René van Woudenberg & Jeroen de Ridder - 2017 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 7 (2):69-90.
    _ Source: _Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 69 - 90 It is often claimed that, as a result of scientific progress, we now _know_ that the natural world displays no design. Although we have no interest in defending design hypotheses, we will argue that establishing claims to the effect that we know the denials of design hypotheses is more difficult than it seems. We do so by issuing two skeptical challenges to design-deniers. The first challenge draws inspiration from radical skepticism (...)
  30. added 2017-10-16
    External-World Skepticism in Classical India: The Case of Vasubandhu.Ethan Mills - 2017 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 7 (3):147-172.
    _ Source: _Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 147 - 172 The Indian Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu has seldom been considered in conjunction with the problem of external-world skepticism despite the fact that his text, _Twenty Verses_, presents arguments from ignorance based on dreams. In this article, an epistemological phenomenalist interpretation of Vasubandhu is supported in opposition to a metaphysical idealist interpretation. On either interpretation, Vasubandhu gives an invitation to the problem of external-world skepticism, although his final conclusion is closer to skepticism (...)
  31. added 2017-08-02
    Structuralism as a Response to Skepticism.David J. Chalmers - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (12):625-660.
    Cartesian arguments for global skepticism about the external world start from the premise that we cannot know that we are not in a Cartesian scenario such as an evil-demon scenario, and infer that because most of our empirical beliefs are false in such a scenario, these beliefs do not constitute knowledge. Veridicalist responses to global skepticism respond that arguments fail because in Cartesian scenarios, many or most of our empirical beliefs are true. Some veridicalist responses have been motivated using verificationism, (...)
  32. added 2017-06-21
    Pragmatic Skepticism.Susanna Rinard - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Pragmatic responses to skepticism have been overlooked in recent decades. This paper explores one such response by developing a character called the Pragmatic Skeptic. The Pragmatic Skeptic accepts skeptical arguments for the claim that we lack good evidence for our ordinary beliefs, and that they do not constitute knowledge. However, they do not think we should give up our beliefs in light of these skeptical conclusions. Rather, we should retain them, since we have good practical reasons for doing so. This (...)
  33. added 2017-06-01
    Sensitivity, Reflective Knowledge, and Skepticism.Daniel Immerman - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (4):351-367.
    _ Source: _Page Count 17 Michael Huemer, Ernest Sosa, and Jonathan Vogel have offered a critique of the sensitivity condition on knowledge. According to them, the condition implies that you cannot know of any particular proposition that you do not falsely believe it. Their arguments rest on the claim that you cannot sensitively believe of any particular proposition that you do not falsely believe it. However, as we shall see, these philosophers are mistaken. You can do so. That said, these (...)
  34. added 2017-05-31
    Lotteries, Possibility and Skepticism.Daniel Immerman - 2015 - Skepsis: A Journal for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Research 12:51-67.
  35. added 2017-05-29
    Skepticism and Naturalized Epistemology.Douglas G. Winblad - 1989 - Philosophia 19 (2-3):99-113.
    This paper examines naturalized epistemology's prospects for dealing with Cartesian skepticism and the traditional problem of induction. It is argued that Quine's approach fails to satisfy the skeptic who does not already embrace some version of scientific method. In addition, it is argued that Goldman's reliabilism enables one to address these issues empirically only if one rejects the view that if we are capable of confirming an empirical hypothesis, we are also capable of disconfirming it. The article ends with a (...)
  36. added 2017-05-03
    How to Take Skepticism Seriously.Adam Leite - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (1):39 - 60.
    Modern-day heirs of the Cartesian revolution have been fascinated by the thought that one could utilize certain hypotheses – that one is dreaming, deceived by an evil demon, or a brain in a vat – to argue at one fell swoop that one does not know, is not justified in believing, or ought not believe most if not all of what one currently believes about the world. A good part of the interest and mystique of these discussions arises from the (...)
  37. added 2017-05-03
    Internal-World Skepticism and Mental Self-Presentation.Terence E. Horgan, John L. Tienson & George Graham - 2006 - In Uriah Kriegel & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to Consciousness. MIT Press. pp. 41-61.
  38. added 2017-05-02
    Skepticism and the Internal/External Divide.Ernest Sosa - 1999 - In John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology. Blackwell. pp. 145--57.
  39. added 2017-05-01
    Experimental Evidence for the Existence of an External World.Eric Schwitzgebel & Alan T. Moore - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (3):564--582.
  40. added 2017-05-01
    Our Knowledge of the External World.Bertrand Russell - 1929 - Routledge.
    _Our Knowledge of the External World _is_ _a compilation of lectures Bertrand Russell delivered in the US in which he questions the very relevance and legitimacy of philosophy. In it he investigates the relationship between ‘individual’ and ‘scientific’ knowledge and questions the means in which we have come to understand our physical world. This is an explosive and controversial work that illustrates instances where the claims of philosophers have been excessive, and examines why their achievements have not been greater.
  41. added 2017-05-01
    Our Knowledge of the External World.Bertrand Russell - 1929 - Routledge.
    _Our Knowledge of the External World _is_ _a compilation of lectures Bertrand Russell delivered in the US in which he questions the very relevance and legitimacy of philosophy. In it he investigates the relationship between ‘individual’ and ‘scientific’ knowledge and questions the means in which we have come to understand our physical world. This is an explosive and controversial work that illustrates instances where the claims of philosophers have been excessive, and examines why their achievements have not been greater.
  42. added 2017-02-22
    Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader.Keith DeRose & Ted A. Warfield (eds.) - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
    Recently, new life has been breathed into the ancient philosophical topic of skepticism. The subject of some of the best and most provocative work in contemporary philosophy, skepticism has been addressed not only by top epistemologists but also by several of the world's finest philosophers who are most known for their work in other areas of the discipline. Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader brings together the most important recent contributions to the discussion of skepticism. Covering major approaches to the skeptical problem, (...)
  43. added 2017-02-17
    Essays on Skepticism.Anthony Brueckner - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
    The guiding questions of this volume are: Can we have knowledge of the external world of things outside our minds?
  44. added 2017-02-06
    A Refutation of Global Scepticism.Ken Gemes - 2009 - Analysis 69 (2):218-219.
    Various possibilities, that one is dreaming, that one is being deceived by a deceitful demon, that one is a brain in the vat being stimulated to think one has a body and is in a regular world, have been invoked to show that all one's experience-based beliefs might be false. Descartes in Meditation I advises that in order not to lapse into his careless everyday view of things he, or at least his meditator, should pretend that all his experience-based beliefs, (...)
  45. added 2017-02-06
    The External World and Mr. Chatalian.Donald C. Williams - 1953 - Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):13-18.
  46. added 2017-02-06
    Mr. W. T. Stace on the Construction of the External World.H. H. Price - 1933 - Mind 42 (167):273-298.
  47. added 2017-01-01
    Harald Delius: Self-Awareness: A Semantical Inquiry. [REVIEW]Barry Smith - 1985 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 46:170–173.
    The thesis of Delius's book is that statements of self-awareness such as "I am aware that I see a cat" possess what he calls 'Cartesian characteristics' of indubitability or absolute self-evidence. He argues that this is the case in virtue of the fact that such statements are not about anything independent of themselves. The book is described as a 'semantical inquiry', but it is not by any means a contribution to the philosophy of language of the predictable sort. Statements of (...)
  48. added 2016-12-08
    Radical Skepticism, Closure, and Robust Knowledge.J. Adam Carter - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:115-133.
    The Neo-Moorean response to the radical skeptical challenge boldly maintains that we can know we’re not the victims of radical skeptical hypotheses; accordingly, our everyday knowledge that would otherwise be threatened by our inability to rule out such hypotheses stands unthreatened. Given the leverage such an approach has against the skeptic from the very start, the Neo-Moorean line is an especially popular one; as we shall see, though, it faces several commonly overlooked problems. An initial problem is that this particular (...)
  49. added 2016-12-08
    The Debasing Demon.J. Schaffer - 2010 - Analysis 70 (2):228-237.
    What knowledge is imperilled by sceptical doubt? That is, what range of beliefs may be called into doubt by sceptical nightmares like the Cartesian demon hypothesis? It is generally thought that demons have limited powers, perhaps only threatening a posteriori knowledge of the external world, but at any rate not threatening principles like the cogito. I will argue that there is a demon – the debasing demon – with unlimited powers, which threatens universal doubt. Rather than deceiving us with falsities, (...)
  50. added 2016-12-08
    The Theoretical Diagnosis of Skepticism.Peter J. Graham - 2007 - Synthese 158 (1):19-39.
    Radical skepticism about the external implies that no belief about the external is even prima facie justified. A theoretical reply to skepticism has four stages. First, show which theories of epistemic justification support skeptical doubts (show which theories, given other reasonable assumptions, entail skepticism). Second, show which theories undermine skeptical doubts (show which theories, given other reasonable assumptions, do not support the skeptic’s conclusion). Third, show which of the latter theories (which non-skeptical theory) is correct, and in so doing show (...)
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