Replies to Skepticism

Edited by Everett Fulmer (Loyola University, New Orleans)
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  1. Ghazālī's Transformative Answer to Scepticism.Reza Hadisi - 2022 - Theoria 88 (1):109-142.
    Theoria, Volume 88, Issue 1, Page 109-142, February 2022.
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  2. Epistemological Solipsism as a Route to External World Skepticism.Grace Helton - 2021 - Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):229-250.
    I show that some of the most initially attractive routes of refuting epistemological solipsism face serious obstacles. I also argue that for creatures like ourselves, solipsism is a genuine form of external world skepticism. I suggest that together these claims suggest the following morals: No proposed solution to external world skepticism can succeed which does not also solve the problem of epistemological solipsism. And, more tentatively: In assessing proposed solutions to external world skepticism, epistemologists should explicitly consider whether those solutions (...)
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  3. Realism Without Interphenomena: Reichenbach’s Cube, Sober’s Evidential Realism, and Quantum.Florian J. Boge - 2021 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 33 (4):231-246.
    In ‘Reichenbach's cubical universe and the problem of the external world’, Elliott Sober attempts a refutation of solipsism à la Reichenbach. I here contrast Sober's line of argument with observati...
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  4. Disagreement Unhinged, Constitutivism Style.Annalisa Coliva & Michele Palmira - 2021 - Metaphilosophy 52 (3-4):402-415.
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  5. Knowing in the Teeth of the Diallelus - How Rightly Not to Be Sceptical.Jude Arnout Durieux -
    What can we know if we take sceptical worries such as the Münchhausen trilemma seriously? Quite a lot, actually - if the world is a certain way, namely if transcendent mediocrity is the case.
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  6. Underdetermination and Closure: Thoughts on Two Sceptical Arguments.Martin Smith - forthcoming - In Matthew Jope & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), New Perspectives on Epistemic Closure. Routledge.
    In this paper, I offer reasons for thinking that two prominent sceptical arguments in the literature – the underdetermination-based sceptical argument and the closure-based sceptical argument – are less philosophically interesting than is commonly supposed. The underdetermination-based argument begs the question against a non-sceptic and can be dismissed with little fanfare. The closure-based argument, though perhaps not question-begging per se, does rest upon contentious assumptions that a non-sceptic is under no pressure to accept.
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  7. The Epistemology of Thomas Reid.Derek R. Brookes - 1996 - Discipline Filosofiche 2 (VI):119-168.
    This paper is a reconstruction and analysis of Thomas Reid’s epistemology, based upon an examination of his extant manuscripts and publications. I argue that, in Reid’s view, a certain degree of “evidence” (or, as I shall say, ‘epistemic justification’) is that which distinguishes mere true belief from knowledge; and that this degree of justification may be ascribed to a person’s belief if and only if (i) the evidence upon which her belief is grounded is such that she holds it with (...)
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  8. Perception as a Multi-Stage Process: A Reidian Account.Marina Folescu - 2021 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 19 (1):57-74.
    The starting point of this paper is Thomas Reid's anti-skepticism: our knowledge of the external world is justified. The justificatory process, in his view, starts with and relies upon one of the main faculties of the human mind: perception. Reid's theory of perception has been thoroughly studied, but there are some missing links in the explanatory chain offered by the secondary literature. In particular, I will argue that we do not have a complete picture of the mechanism of perception of (...)
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  9. Semantic Externalism, and Justified Belief About the External World.Hamid Alaeinejad - 2020 - Philosophical Readings 12 (3).
    Philosophical skepticism about the external world seeks to call into question our knowledge of the external world. Some kinds of philosophical skepticism employ skeptical hypotheses to prove that we cannot know anything about the external world. Putnam tried to refute this kind of skepticism by adopting semantic externalism; but, as is now generally accepted, Putnam’s argument is epistemically circular. Brueckner proposes some new, “simple” arguments that in his view are not circular. In this paper we evaluate Brueckner’s simple arguments for (...)
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  10. The Skeptic and the Climate Change Skeptic.Alex Worsnip - 2021 - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology. Routledge.
    Outside the philosophy classroom, global skeptics – skeptics about all (purported) knowledge of the external world – are rare. But there are people who describe themselves as “skeptics” about various more specific domains, including self-professed “skeptics” about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. There is little to no philosophical literature that juxtaposes the climate change skeptic with the external world skeptic. While many “traditional” epistemologists assume that the external world skeptic poses a serious philosophical challenge in a way that the (...)
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  11. Epistemic Entitlement, Epistemic Risk and Leaching.Luca Moretti & Crispin Wright - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    One type of argument to sceptical paradox proceeds by making a case that a certain kind of metaphysically “heavyweight or “cornerstone” proposition is beyond all possible evidence and hence may not be known or justifiably believed. Crispin Wright has argued that we can concede that our acceptance of these propositions is evidentially risky and still remain rationally entitled to those of our ordinary knowledge claims that are seemingly threatened by that concession. A problem for Wright’s proposal is the so-called Leaching (...)
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  12. The Advantages of Neomoorean Antiskeptical Strategy.Jelena Mijic - 2020 - Filozofija I Društvo 31 (4):615-628.
    This paper aims to argue in support of the neo-Moorean attempt to solve a skeptical paradox. It defends the thesis that neo-Mooreans retain advantages and avoid disadvantages of rival anti-skeptical strategies – namely epistemic contextualism. The puzzle that a radical skeptic poses is exemplified by Nozick’s famous Brain in a Vat thought experiment, which enables construing valid arguments consisting of jointly inconsistent but independently plausible premises. The first and the second part of the paper are devoted to Nozick’s conditional analysis (...)
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  13. Inescapable Hinges: A Transcendental Hinge Epistemology.Luca Zanetti - forthcoming - In Nikolaj J. Pedersen & Luca Moretti (eds.), Non-Evidentialist Epistemology.
    In this paper I discuss a new kind of hinge epistemology which is called transcendental hinge epistemology. According to this view, hinges are immune from doubt because it is impossible to doubt them coherently, and this impossibility arises because any attempt to doubt them will presuppose their truth. Such an immunity is possessed only by inescapable hinges, that is, hinges that must be presupposed in every inquiry. I will argue that current hinge epistemologies fail to provide a satisfactory anti-sceptical strategy (...)
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  14. 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 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 hand, if the sceptical conclusion turns out (...)
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  15. The Truth Fairy and the Indirect Epistemic Consequentialist.Daniel Y. Elstein & C. S. I. Jenkins - 2020 - In Peter J. Graham & Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen (eds.), Epistemic Entitlement. Oxford, UK: pp. 344-360.
    Friends of Wright-entitlement cannot appeal to direct epistemic consequentialism (believe or accept what maximizes expected epistemic value) in order to account for the epistemic rationality of accepting Wright-entitled propositions. The tenability of direct consequentialism is undermined by the “Truth Fairy”: a powerful being who offers you great epistemic reward (in terms of true beliefs) if you accept a proposition p for which you have evidence neither for nor against. However, this chapter argues that a form of indirect epistemic consequentialism seems (...)
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  16. Justification As A Loaded Notion.Yuval Avnur - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4897-4916.
    The problem of skepticism is often understood as a paradox: a valid argument with plausible premises whose conclusion is that we lack justification for perceptual beliefs. Typically, this conclusion is deemed unacceptable, so a theory is offered that posits conditions for justification on which some premise is false. The theory defended here is more general, and explains why the paradox arises in the first place. Like Strawson’s (Introduction to logical theory, Wiley, New York, 1952) “ordinary language” approach to induction, the (...)
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  17. 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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  18. Augustine's Defence of Knowledge Against the Sceptics.Tamer Nawar - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 56:215-265.
    In his Contra Academicos, Augustine offers one of the most detailed responses to scepticism to have come down to us from antiquity. In this paper, I examine Augustine’s defence of the existence of infallible knowledge in Contra Academicos 3. I challenge a number of established views (including those of Myles Burnyeat, Gareth Matthews, and Christopher Kirwan) concerning the nature and merit of Augustine’s defence of knowledge and propose a new understanding of Augustine’s response to scepticism (including his semantic response to (...)
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  19. The Power of Appearances.Nenad Popovic - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 9 (1):51-64.
    _ Source: _Page Count 14 One common problem with anti-skepticism and skepticism alike is their failure to account for our sometimes conflicting epistemic intuitions. In order to address this problem and provide a new direction for solving the skeptical puzzle, I consider a modified version of the puzzle that is based on knowledge claims about appearances and does not result in a paradox. I conclude that combining the elements of both the original and modified puzzle can potentially guide us towards (...)
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  20. Disjuntivismo epistemológico e ceticismo radical.Breno Ricardo Guimarães Santos - 2017 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 62 (3):624-656.
    Epistemological disjunctivism is a philosophical theory that has received special attention in the recent years. Particularly because it has been seen by many as a way of renewing discussions that range from the nature of justification of our daily beliefs to the possibility of unveiling the structure of the problem of radical skepticism and of responding to it. Duncan Pritchard is one of the authors who have offered a particular view of disjunctivism and ways of conceiving of disjunctivist treatments to (...)
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  21. The Power of Appearances.Nenad Popovic - forthcoming - Brill.
    _ Source: _Page Count 14 One common problem with anti-skepticism and skepticism alike is their failure to account for our sometimes conflicting epistemic intuitions. In order to address this problem and provide a new direction for solving the skeptical puzzle, I consider a modified version of the puzzle that is based on knowledge claims about appearances and does not result in a paradox. I conclude that combining the elements of both the original and modified puzzle can potentially guide us towards (...)
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  22. What Do Philosophers Do? Skepticism and the Practice of Philosophy.Xingming Hu - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):862-864.
    What do Philosophers do? Skepticism and the Practice of Philosophy. By Maddy Penelope.
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  23. The Problem of Descartes's First Meditation and its Solution.Charles Raff - manuscript
    Descartes’s First Meditation imposes a pressing, currently neglected problem of reconciling its sound central argument that concludes that all the meditator’s current and currently prospective results are doubtful with subsequent Meditations’ results that are not at all doubtful. The problem cannot be addressed by received interpretations that fail to credit the First Meditation with a sound extended central argument; it cannot be solved by interpretations reliant on standard translations that obscure the Second Meditation’s opening argument. This study credits the First (...)
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  24. Tell Me Something I Don't Know: Dialogues in Epistemology.Michael Veber - 2018 - Broadview Press.
    _Tell Me Something I Don’t Know_ is a collection of original dialogues in epistemology, suitable for student readers but also of interest to experts. Familiar problems, theories, and arguments are explored: second-order knowledge, epistemic closure, the preface paradox, skepticism, pragmatic encroachment, the Gettier problem, and more. New ideas on each of these issues are also offered, defended, and critiqued, often in humorous and entertaining ways.
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  25. Scepticism and the Self-Hollowing Problem: A Dichotomous Solution to Sceptical Paradox.Changsheng Lai - 2016 - Dissertation,
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  26. Groundless Belief: An Essay on the Possibility of Knowledge.Paul Horwich - 1982 - Noûs 16 (2):312-316.
  27. Contrastive Self-Knowledge and the McKinsey Paradox.Sarah Sawyer - 2015 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), Externalism, Self-Knowledge, and Skepticism: New Essays. Cambridge, UK: pp. 75-93.
    In this paper I argue first, that a contrastive account of self-knowledge and the propositional attitudes entails an anti-individualist account of propositional attitude concepts, second, that the final account provides a solution to the McKinsey paradox, and third, that the account has the resources to explain why certain anti-skeptical arguments fail.
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  28. Alston’s Practical Rationality Argument.Michael B. Wakoff - 1999 - Journal of Philosophical Research 24:247-284.
    William AIston has argued that the prospects are dim for demonstrating with out epistemic circularity that any of our fundamental doxastic practices are reliable. In response to this predicament, he supplies a pragmatic rationale for our continued engagement in these practices. I argue that either he relativizes the practical rationality of engaging in a doxastic practice to participants, which ill suits his aim of providing a realist account of the practice that provides nonparticipants with are as on to trust that (...)
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  29. Knowledge Under Threat.Tomas Bogardus - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):289-313.
    Many contemporary epistemologists hold that a subject S’s true belief that p counts as knowledge only if S’s belief that p is also, in some important sense, safe. I describe accounts of this safety condition from John Hawthorne, Duncan Pritchard, and Ernest Sosa. There have been three counterexamples to safety proposed in the recent literature, from Comesaña, Neta and Rohrbaugh, and Kelp. I explain why all three proposals fail: each moves fallaciously from the fact that S was at epistemic risk (...)
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  30. Level-Confusions in Epistemology.William P. Alston - 1980 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1):135-150.
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Abductive Replies to Skepticism
  1. Forgetting Memory Skepticism.Matthew Frise & Kevin McCain - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):253-263.
    Memory skepticism denies our memory beliefs could have any notable epistemic good. One route to memory skepticism is to challenge memory’s epistemic trustworthiness, that is, its functioning in a way necessary for it to provide epistemic justification. In this paper we develop and respond to this challenge. It could threaten memory in such a way that we altogether lack doxastic attitudes. If it threatens memory in this way, then the challenge is importantly self-defeating. If it does not threaten memory in (...)
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  2. The Reliability of Memory: An Argument From the Armchair.Ali Hasan - 2021 - Episteme 18 (2):142-159.
    The “problem of memory” in epistemology is concerned with whether and how we could have knowledge, or at least justification, for trusting our apparent memories. I defend an inductive solution—more precisely, an abductive solution—to the problem. A natural worry is that any such solution would be circular, for it would have to depend on memory. I argue that belief in the reliability of memory can be justified from the armchair, without relying on memory. The justification is, roughly, that my having (...)
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  3. Objective Bayesianism and the Abductivist Response to Scepticism.Darren Bradley - forthcoming - Episteme:1-15.
    An important line of response to scepticism appeals to the best explanation. But anti-sceptics have not engaged much with work on explanation in the philosophy of science. I plan to investigate whether plausible assumptions about best explanations really do favour anti-scepticism. I will argue that there are ways of constructing sceptical hypotheses in which the assumptions do favour anti-scepticism, but the size of the support for anti-scepticism is small.
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  4. Kevin McCain and Ted Poston’s Best Explanations.Frank Cabrera - 2020 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 10 (2):1-10.
    In this critical notice, I focus my attention on the chapters that deal with the explanationist response to skepticism.
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  5. Does Skepticism Presuppose Explanationism?James R. Beebe - 2017 - In Kevin McCain & Ted Poston (eds.), Best Explanations: New Essays on Inference to the Best Explanation. Oxford University Press. pp. 173-187.
    A common response to radical skeptical challenges to our knowledge of the external world has been that there are explanatory reasons (e.g., simplicity, coherence, explanatory power, conservatism) for favoring commonsense explanations of our sensory experiences over skeptical explanations. Despite the degree of visibility this class of response has enjoyed, it has often been viewed with skepticism [sic] by the epistemological community because of concerns about the epistemic merits of explanatory reasoning. I argue that skeptical challenges that employ skeptical hypotheses presuppose (...)
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  6. Naturalness as a Constraint on Priors.Darren Bradley - 2020 - Mind 129 (513):179-203.
    Many epistemological problems can be solved by the objective Bayesian view that there are rationality constraints on priors, that is, inductive probabilities. But attempts to work out these constraints have run into such serious problems that many have rejected objective Bayesianism altogether. I argue that the epistemologist should borrow the metaphysician’s concept of naturalness and assign higher priors to more natural hypotheses.
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  7. Appearance and Explanation: Phenomenal Explanationism in Epistemology.Kevin McCain & Luca Moretti - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Phenomenal Conservatism (the view that an appearance that p gives one prima facie justification for believing that p) is a promising, and popular, internalist theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity, it faces numerous objections and challenges. For instance, epistemologists have argued that Phenomenal Conservatism is incompatible with Bayesianism, is afflicted by bootstrapping and cognitive penetration problems, does not guarantee that epistemic justification is a stable property, does not provide an account of defeat, and is not a complete theory of (...)
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  8. Skepticism and the Foundations of Empirical Justification.Ali Hasan - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Washington
    A central project of traditional epistemology is to address skeptical questions and concerns regarding the rationality or epistemic justification of our empirical beliefs, especially beliefs regarding the external world, with the aim of understanding what makes it possible for such beliefs to have or lack justification, and of determining how much justification we have. A prominent anti-skeptical view in the history of epistemology, a view I shall call classical foundationalism, can be distinguished from other more contemporary versions of foundationalism in (...)
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  9. In Defense of the Explanationist Response to Skepticism.Kevin McCain - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 9 (1):38-50.
    _ Source: _Page Count 13 A promising response to the threat of external world skepticism involves arguing that our commonsense view of the world best explains the sensory experiences that we have. Since our commonsense view of the world best explains our evidence, we are justified in accepting this commonsense view of the world. Despite the plausibility of this Explanationist Response, it has recently come under attack. James Beebe has argued that only a version of the Explanationist Response that provides (...)
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  10. Edging Toward ‘Reasonably’ Good Corporate Governance.Donald Nordberg - 2018 - Philosophy of Management 17 (3):353-371.
    Over four decades, research and policy have created layers of understandings in the quest for "good" corporate governance. The corporate excesses of the 1970s sparked a search for market mechanisms and disclosure to empower shareholders. The UK-focused problems of the 1990s prompted board-centric, structural approaches, while the fall of Enron and many other companies in the early 2000s heightened emphasis on director independence and professionalism. With the financial crisis of 2007–09, however, came a turn in some policy approaches and in (...)
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  11. 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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  12. In Defense of Rationalism About Abductive Inference.Ali Hasan - 2017 - In Ted Poston & Kevin McCain (eds.), Best Explanations: New Essays on Inference to the Best Explanation. Oxford University Press.
    Laurence BonJour and more recently James Beebe have argued that the best way to defend the claim that abduction or inference to the best explanation is epistemically justified is the rationalist view that it is justified a priori. However, rationalism about abduction faces a number of challenges. This chapter focuses on one particular, highly influential objection, that there is no interpretation of probability available which is compatible with rationalism about abduction. The rationalist who wants to maintain a strong connection between (...)
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  13. Skepticism, Externalism, and Inference to the Best Explanation.Jochen Briesen - 2008 - Abstracta 4 (1):5-26.
    This paper focuses on a combination of the antiskeptical strategies offered by semantic externalism and the inference to the best explanation. I argue that the most difficult problems of the two strategies can be solved, if the strategies are combined: The strategy offered by semantic externalism is successful against standard skeptical brain-in-a-vat arguments. But the strategy is ineffective, if the skeptical argument is referring to the recent-envatment scenario. However, by focusing on the scenario of recent envatment the most difficult problems (...)
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  14. Inference to the Best Explanation and the Challenge of Skepticism.Bryan C. Appley - unknown
    In this dissertation I consider the problem of external world skepticism and attempts at providing an argument to the best explanation against it. In chapter one I consider several different ways of formulating the crucial skeptical argument, settling on an argument that centers on the question of whether we're justified in believing propositions about the external world. I then consider and reject several options for getting around this issue which I take to be inadequate. I finally conclude that the best (...)
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  15. Cartesian Skepticism and Inference to the Best Explanation.Jonathan Vogel - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (11):658-666.
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  16. Skepticism and Elegance.Kevin McCain - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (1):30-43.
    _ Source: _Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 30 - 43 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 (...)
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  17. Bertrand Russells „Erkenntnis der Außenwelt“.Hugo Bergmann - 1920 - Kant-Studien 25 (1):50.
  18. 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 (...)
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  19. 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 (...)
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  20. Rationalist Responses to Skepticism: A New Puzzle.Tim Willenken - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
    Most promising responses to skepticism fall into “Moorean” or “rationalist” camps. Mooreans believe that some apparently circular forms of reasoning allow us to have justification to believe that skeptical hypotheses are false. Rationalists believe that we have a priori justification to believe that skeptical hypotheses are false. It can seem that anti-skeptics are stuck choosing between fishy circular reasoning and mysterious a priori justification. I present a new difficulty for rationalism by focusing on skeptical scenarios wherein our faculties of a (...)
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1 — 50 / 1141