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Summary

Cartesian skeptics invite us to explain 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, such as that one is dreaming or a brain-in-a-vat. The problem has its source in Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, and in particular, the First Meditation

For example, 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 this: how can we know that the evil demon hypothesis is false? External world skepticism is view that that knowledge (or justified belief) about the external world is impossible. An external world skeptic 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 you know that an external world proposition P is true, then you know that the skeptical hypothesis SH is false. But (2) you don’t know that SH is false. Therefore, (3) you do not know that P. 

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. Mooreans rejects premise 2, arguing that we can know the denials of skeptical hypotheses by way of competent deduction from our ordinary external world knowledge. Different theorists have tried to support the Moorean view in different ways (e.g., dogmatist, reliabilist, knowledge-first, and disjunctivists). Relative Alternatives Theorists argue that skeptical hypotheses are not relevant alternatives to our ordinary knowledge. Many relevant alternative’s theorists reject the closure-principle and thereby premise 2. Contextualists 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.

Some philosophers argue that there are pragmatic reasons to maintain our ordinary beliefs, even if they are in some way epistemically defective according to Cartesian skeptics. Veridicalists have argued that some skeptical hypotheses, like the BIV or simulation hypothesis, are compatible with the truth of our ordinary beliefs. 

Key works

For the original presentation of Cartesian skepticism and the Cartesian skeptical argument, see Descartes 1960. 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 2000, 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 2006 and Pritchard 2012. For explanationist responses, see Vogel 2013 and Vogel 1990. For entitlement responses, see Wright 2004. For a priori argument responses, see Kant 1998, Putnam 1981, and Davidson 1986. 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. For pragmatic responses, see Rinard 2021. For a recent veridicalist response, see Chalmers 2018.

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.
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339 found
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  1. 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.
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  2. Falsehood: An Analysis of Illusion's Singularity.Marc Burock - manuscript
    It is a common tactic, going back to the beginnings of religion and philosophy, to presume that we are enveloped in a world of untruth and illusion, thereby fueling our movement toward truth. In more modern times, Descartes demonstrates this process clearly with his Meditations. This work extends the Cartesian skeptical position by challenging the concept of illusion itself, asking those who have ever called something ‘an illusion’ to question the meaning of these assertions. This broader skepticism partially annihilates itself (...)
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  3. Descartes and the Crazy Argument.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    In Meditation I, Descartes dismisses the possibility that he might be insane as a ground for doubting that the senses are a source of knowledge of the external world. In this paper, I argue that Descartes was justified in so doing, and draw some general epistemological conclusions from this result.
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  4. Pragmatism, skepticism, and over-compatibilism: on Michael Hannon’s What’s the Point of Knowledge?Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Function-first approaches illuminate phenomena by investigating their functional roles. I first describe virtues of this approach. By foregrounding normal instances of knowledge, for example, function-first theorising offers a much-needed corrective to epistemology's counterexample-driven momentum towards increasingly byzantine, marginal cases. And epistemic practices are shaped by human limitations, needs, vices, and power relations. These non-ideal, naturalistic forces of embodied sociality form the roots of function-first theorising, which creates a fecund foundation for social epistemology. Secondly, I consider an objection to function-first theorising. (...)
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  5. Précis of The Illusion of Doubt.Genia Schönbaumsfeld - forthcoming - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism:1-6.
    The Illusion of Doubt shows that radical scepticism is an illusion generated by a Cartesian picture of our evidential situation—the view that my epistemic grounds in both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ cases must be the same. It is this picture which issues both a standing invitation to radical scepticism and ensures that there is no way of getting out of it while agreeing to the sceptic’s terms. The sceptical problem cannot, therefore, be answered ‘directly’. Rather, the assumptions that give (...)
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  6. Response to Critics.Genia Schönbaumsfeld - forthcoming - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism:1-17.
    In this paper I respond to the objections and comments made by Ranalli, Williams, and Moyal-Sharrock, participants in a symposium on my book on scepticism called The Illusion of Doubt.
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  7. Veridicalism and Scepticism.Yuval Avnur - 2024 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (2):393-407.
    According to veridicalism, your beliefs about the existence of ordinary objects are typically true, and can constitute knowledge, even if you are in some global sceptical scenario. Even if you are a victim of Descartes’ demon, you can still know that there are tables, for example. Accordingly, even if you don’t know whether you are in some such scenario, you still know that there are tables. This refutes the standard sceptical argument. But does it solve the sceptical problem posed by (...)
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  8. Why We Doubt: A Cognitive Account of Our Skeptical Inclinations.N. Ángel Pinillos - 2023 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This book, the first of its kind, puts forward a novel, unified cognitive account of skeptical doubt. Historically, most philosophers have tried to tackle this difficult topic by directly arguing that skeptical doubt is false. But N. Ángel Pinillos does something different. He begins by trying to uncover the hidden mental rule which, for better or worse, motivates our skeptical inclinations. He then gives an account of the broader cognitive purpose of having and applying this rule. Based on these ideas, (...)
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  9. Recent Work on Skepticism in Epistemology.Chris Ranalli - 2023 - American Philosophical Quarterly 60 (3):257-273.
    This paper critically surveys 20 years of recent work on radical skepticism. It focuses on three key issues. First, it starts by exploring how philosophers have recently challenged our understanding of radical skeptical arguments. It then unpacks and critically evaluates some influential reactions to radical skepticism: structuralism, knowledge-first epistemology, epistemological disjunctivism, and hinge epistemology. Third, it explores some novel developments of pragmatism, like pragmatic skepticism, gauges its anti-skeptical import, and reflects on the ways in which radical skeptical epistemology and ethics (...)
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  10. Cartesian Skepticism, Kantian Skepticism, and the Dreaming Hypothesis.Antonio Ianni Segatto - 2023 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 27 (1):101-116.
    Based on the distinction drawn by James Conant between Cartesian skepticism and Kantian skepticism, I intend to show that Wittgenstein’s remarks on dreaming should not be understood as a direct attack on the former, as commonly held, but as an indirect attack on it, for Wittgenstein approaches Descartes’ dreaming hypothesis by changing the very problematic at stake. Wittgenstein’s attack on skepticism takes one step back from a question about how to distinguish between dreaming that one is experiencing something and actually (...)
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  11. Ein Plädoyer wider die Annahme einer fundamentalen Unterscheidung von Genese und Geltung in der Erkenntnistheorie.Markus Seidel - 2023 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 77 (4):454-483.
    Many epistemologists believe that the distinction between the genesis and the validity of a belief is a fundamental presupposition of adequate epistemological reflection. In this article it will be argued that the arguments for this majority conviction are not convincing. As an alternative it is suggested that the distin- ction between epistemic and non-epistemic procedures should be regarded as fundamental for epistemology.
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  12. Doncaster pandas and Caesar's armadillo: Scepticism and via negativa knowledge.Levi Spectre & John Hawthorne - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (2):360-373.
    The external world sceptic tells some familiar narratives involving massive deception. Perhaps we are brains in vats. Perhaps we are the victim of a deceitful demon. You know the drill. The sceptic proceeds by observing first that victims of such deceptions know nothing about their external environment and that second, since we cannot rule out being a victim of such deceptions our- selves, our own external world beliefs fail to attain the status of knowledge. Discussions of global external world scepticism (...)
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  13. The Givenness of the World The Problem of Directionality in Modern Epistemology.Thaliath B. - 2022 - Philosophy International Journal 5 (4):1-9.
    As widely acknowledged, the epistemological turn of early modernity was based on the Cartesian method of doubt and negation, which primarily relates to the world of objects. The methodological negation and separation of sensible qualities and subjective attributes of objects left behind residual entities, which, from the Cartesian res extensa to the Kantian thing-initself, explicates an important basic feature of a historically unfolding transcendentalism: the reduction of objects to a mere givenness and the directional conditionality of epistemology that presupposes it. (...)
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  14. The insignificance of philosophical skepticism.Jonathan Dixon - 2022 - Synthese 200 (485):1-22.
    The Cartesian arguments for external world skepticism are usually considered to be significant for at least two reasons: they seem to present genuine paradoxes and that providing an adequate response to these arguments would reveal something epistemically important about knowledge, justification, and/or our epistemic position to the world. Using only premises and reasoning the skeptic accepts, I will show that the most common Cartesian argument for external world skepticism leads to a previously unrecognized self-undermining dilemma: it either leads to a (...)
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  15. Meditations for the 21st Century.Noah Garver - 2022 - Chișinău, Moldova: Eliva Press.
    This book is a work of popular philosophy in the vein of the Cartesian tradition, and meditates on the fundamental problems of philosophy with a modern touch.
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  16. Lunacy and Scepticism: Notes on the Logic of Doubt Concerning the Existence of an External World.Sebastian Sunday Grève - 2022 - Topoi 41 (5):1023-1031.
    This article develops a logical (or semantic) response to scepticism about the existence of an external world. Specifically, it is argued that any doubt about the existence of an external world can be proved to be false, but whatever appears to be doubt about the existence of an external world that _cannot_ be proved to be false is nonsense, insofar as it must rely on the assertion of something that is logically impossible. The article further suggests that both G. E. (...)
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  17. Skeptical Invariantism, Considered.Gregory Stoutenburg - 2021 - In Christos Kyriacou & Kevin Wallbridge (eds.), Skeptical Invariantism Reconsidered. pp. 80-101.
    In this paper I consider the prospects for a skeptical version of infallibilism. For the reasons given above, I think skeptical invariantism has a lot going for it. However, a satisfactory theory of knowledge must account for all of our desiderata, including that our ordinary knowledge attributions are appropriate. This last part will not be easy for the infallibilist invariantist. Indeed, I will argue that it is much more difficult than those sympathetic to skepticism have acknowledged, as there are serious (...)
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  18. Closure, deduction and hinge commitments.Xiaoxing Zhang - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 15):3533-3551.
    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 (...)
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  19. The Self-Hollowing Problem of the Radical Sceptical Paradox.Changsheng Lai - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (5):1269-1288.
    The purpose of this paper is to provide a new solution to the radical sceptical paradox. A sceptical paradox purports to indicate the inconsistency within our fundamental epistemological commitments that are all seemingly plausible. Typically, sceptics employ an intuitively appealing epistemic principle (e.g., the closure principle, the underdetermination principle) to derive the sceptical conclusion. This paper will reveal a dilemma intrinsic to the sceptical paradox, which I refer to as the self-hollowing problem of radical scepticism. That is, on the one (...)
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  20. We Can't Know.Markus Lammenranta - 2020 - In Steven B. Cowan (ed.), Problems in Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Contemporary Debates. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 38-51.
    The paper defends Cartesian skepticism by an argument relying on internalism and infallibilism. It argues that this sort of skepticism gives the best explanation of our intuitions and ordinary epistemic practices.
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  21. Quatro Desafios Céticos ao Saber.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2020 - In Antonio José Pêcego (ed.), Direito e Filosofia: Em Busca do Saber. pp. 147-176.
    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, (...)
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  22. Idealism and illusions.Robert Smithson - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):137-151.
    According to the idealist, facts about phenomenal experience determine facts about the physical world. Any such view must account for illusions: cases where there is a discrepancy between the physical world and our experiences of it. In this paper, I critique some recent idealist treatments of illusions before presenting my own preferred account. I then argue that, initial impressions notwithstanding, it is actually the realist who has difficulties properly accounting for illusions.
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  23. Perceptual Justification and the Cartesian Theater.David James Barnett - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 6.
    According to a traditional Cartesian epistemology of perception, perception does not provide one with direct knowledge of the external world. Instead, your immediate perceptual evidence is limited to facts about your own visual experience, from which conclusions about the external world must be inferred. Cartesianism faces well-known skeptical challenges. But this chapter argues that any anti-Cartesian view strong enough to avoid these challenges must license a way of updating one’s beliefs in response to anticipated experiences that seems diachronically irrational. To (...)
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  24. Knowledge, Scepticism, and Defeat: Themes from Klein.Rodrigo Borges, Branden Fitelson & Cherie Braden (eds.) - 2019 - Springer Verlag.
    This is a collection of new essays written in honor of the work of Peter D. Klein, who has had and continues to have a tremendous influence in the development of epistemology. The essays reflect the breadth and depth of Klein’s work by engaging directly with his views and with the views of his interlocutors.
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  25. Radical Scepticism and the Epistemology of Confusion.J. Adam Carter - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism (3):1-15.
    The lack of knowledge—as Timothy Williamson (2000) famously maintains—is ignorance. Radical sceptical arguments, at least in the tradition of Descartes, threaten universal ignorance. They do so by attempting to establish that we lack any knowledge, even if we can retain other kinds of epistemic standings, like epistemically justified belief. If understanding is a species of knowledge, then radical sceptical arguments threaten to rob us categorically of knowledge and understanding in one fell swoop by implying universal ignorance. If, however, understanding is (...)
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  26. Simon Foucher and Anti-Cartesian Skepticism.Michael W. Hickson - 2019 - In Steven Nadler, Tad M. Schmaltz & Delphine Antoine-Mahut (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Descartes and Cartesianism. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 678-690.
    A survey of the skepticism of Simon Foucher, with particular attention to his objections to Descartes' philosophy.
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  27. Wenn ich mich nicht irre. Ein Versuch über die menschliche Fehlbarkeit.Geert Keil - 2019 - Stuttgart: Reclam.
    Jeder Mensch irrt – ausgenommen der Papst, wenn er Glaubenssätze verkündet. So jedenfalls befand einst das erste Vatikanische Konzil. Nun waren die Kardinäle, so bemerkt Keil frech, selbst keineswegs Träger der päpstlichen Unfehlbarkeit. »Woher wussten sie dann, dass der Papst unfehlbar ist?« Niemand weiß vorher, wann und wo er sich irren wird. Viele Philosophen haben daraus geschlossen, dass Menschen nichts wissen, sondern immer nur vermuten. Das ist aber ein Irrtum, den dieser kluge und kurzweilige Essay aufklärt.
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  28. My Ordinary Anti-Sceptical Beliefs Are Not Insensitive.Changsheng Lai - 2019 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 14 (3):469-489.
    An orthodox sceptical hypothesis claims that one’s belief that “I am not a brain-in-a-vat (BIV)” (or any other ordinary anti-sceptical belief) is insensitive. A form of sensitivity-based scepticism, can thus be constructed by combining this orthodox hypothesis with the sensitivity principle and the closure principle. Unlike traditional solutions to the sensitivity-based sceptical problem, this paper will propose a new solution—one which does not reject either closure or sensitivity. Instead, I argue that sceptics’ assumption that one’s ordinary anti-sceptical beliefs are insensitive (...)
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  29. Introduction.Genia Schönbaumsfeld - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 9 (3):179-182.
    This introduction provides an overview of the content of the papers published in the special issue on epistemic vice and forms of scepticism.
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  30. The basing relation and the impossibility of the debasing demon.Patrick Bondy & J. Adam Carter - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (3):203.
    Descartes’ demon is a deceiver: the demon makes things appear to you other than as they really are. However, as Descartes famously pointed out in the Second Meditation, not all knowledge is imperilled by this kind of deception. You still know you are a thinking thing. Perhaps, though, there is a more virulent demon in epistemic hell, one from which none of our knowledge is safe. Jonathan Schaffer thinks so. The “Debasing Demon” he imagines threatens knowledge not via the truth (...)
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  31. Skepticism: Historical and Contemporary Inquiries.G. Anthony Bruno & A. C. Rutherford (eds.) - 2018 - New York: 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 (...)
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  32. 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, (...)
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  33. 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 (...)
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  34. Duncan Pritchard’s Epistemic Angst.John Greco - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (1):51-61.
    _ Source: _Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 51 - 61 _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.
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  35. Knowledge for Nothing.Patrick Michael Greenough - 2018 - In Peter Graham & Nikolaj Pedersen (eds.), New Essays on Entitlement. Oxford University Press.
    Let Entitlement Epistemology be the theory of knowledge which says that entitlement—a special kind of unearned warrant to accept or believe—can help us successfully address a range of sceptical arguments. Prominent versions of this theory urge that epistemology should not be concerned with knowledge (and similar externalist states) but rather with justification, warrant, and entitlement (at least insofar as these are conceived of as internalist states). Knowledge does not come first, half-way, or even last in epistemological theorising—rather, it ought to (...)
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  36. Skepticism and Spatial Objects.Ali Hasan - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (2):73-95.
    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 explanationist strategy of Laurence BonJour (...)
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  37. Contextualism and radical scepticism.Duncan Pritchard - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):4733-4750.
    A critique of attributer contextualist treatments of the problem of radical scepticism is offered. It is argued that while such proposals, standardly conceived, gain some purchase against the closure-based formulation of this problem, they run aground when applied to the logically distinct underdetermination-based formulation. A specific kind of attributer contextualism—rational support contextualism—is then explored. This is better placed to deal with underdetermination-based radical scepticism via its endorsement of ascriptions of factive rational support in everyday contexts of epistemic appraisal. But such (...)
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  38. 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.
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  39. Is Cartesian Skepticism Too Cartesian?Jonathan Vogel - 2018 - In Kevin McCain & Ted Poston (eds.), The Mystery of Skepticism: New Explorations. Boston: Brill. pp. 24-45.
    A prominent response is that Cartesian skepticism is too Cartesian. It arises from outmoded views in epistemology and the philosophy of mind that we now properly reject. We can and should move on to other things. §2 takes up three broadly Cartesian themes: the epistemic priority of experience, under-determination, and the representative theory of perception. I challenge some common assumptions about these, and their connection to skepticism. §3 shows how skeptical arguments that emphasize causal considerations can avoid some suspect Cartesian (...)
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  40. 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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  41. Skepticism about Meta-skepticism: Meditations on Experimental Philosophy.Michael Hannon - 2017 - Episteme 14 (2):213-231.
    Drawing on new empirical data, a group of experimental philosophers have argued that one of the most popular and influential forms of skepticism is much less interesting and much less worrisome than philosophers have thought. Contrary to this claim, I argue that this brand of skepticism remains as threatening as ever. My argument also reveals an important limitation of experimental philosophy and sheds light on the way professional philosophers should go about the business of doing philosophy.
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  42. 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 (...)
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  43. Transcendental Arguments, Conceivability, and Global Vs. Local Skepticism.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (2):735-749.
    In this paper, I argue that, if transcendental arguments are to proceed from premises that are acceptable to the skeptic, the Transcendental Premise, according to which “X is a metaphysically necessary condition for the possibility of Y,” must be grounded in considerations of conceivability and possibility. More explicitly, the Transcendental Premise is based on what Szabó Gendler and Hawthorne call the “conceivability-possibility move.” This “inconceivability-impossibility” move, however, is a problematic argumentative move when advancing transcendental arguments for the following reasons. First, (...)
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  44. Metaepistemological Skepticism.Chris Ranalli - 2017 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
  45. 1% Skepticism.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):271-290.
    A 1% skeptic is someone who has about a 99% credence in non-skeptical realism and about a 1% credence in the disjunction of all radically skeptical scenarios combined. The first half of this essay defends the epistemic rationality of 1% skepticism, appealing to dream skepticism, simulation skepticism, cosmological skepticism, and wildcard skepticism. The second half of the essay explores the practical behavioral consequences of 1% skepticism, arguing that 1% skepticism need not be behaviorally inert.
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  46. 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 (...)
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  47. Questions, topics and restricted closure.Peter Hawke - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2759-2784.
    Single-premise epistemic closure is the principle that: if one is in an evidential position to know that P where P entails Q, then one is in an evidential position to know that Q. In this paper, I defend the viability of opposition to closure. A key task for such an opponent is to precisely formulate a restricted closure principle that remains true to the motivations for abandoning unrestricted closure but does not endorse particularly egregious instances of closure violation. I focus (...)
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  48. Serious theories and skeptical theories: Why you are probably not a brain in a vat.Michael Huemer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1031-1052.
    Skeptical hypotheses such as the brain-in-a-vat hypothesis provide extremely poor explanations for our sensory experiences. Because these scenarios accommodate virtually any possible set of evidence, the probability of any given set of evidence on the skeptical scenario is near zero; hence, on Bayesian grounds, the scenario is not well supported by the evidence. By contrast, serious theories make reasonably specific predictions about the evidence and are then well supported when these predictions are satisfied.
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  49. 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 (...)
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  50. Asymmetry arguments.Berislav Marušić - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1081-1102.
    In the First Meditation, the Cartesian meditator temporarily concludes that he cannot know anything, because he cannot discriminate dreaming from waking while he is dreaming. To resist the meditator’s conclusion, one could deploy an asymmetry argument. Following Bernard Williams, one could argue that even if the meditator cannot discriminate dreaming from waking while dreaming, it does not follow that he cannot do it while awake. In general, asymmetry arguments seek to identify an asymmetry between a bad case that is entertained (...)
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