Unicorn agnosticism

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (8):818-829 (2021)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Atheists and agnostics have a vexed relationship. Atheists often regard agnostics as timid, or perhaps as disguised apologists. Agnostics often regard atheists as dogmatic hypocrites: they proclaim something on insufficient evidence, while accusing theists of this. This dynamic is familiar from the academic and popular literature. Here, I consider a more radical conflict between the two, based on Kripkean semantics for empty terms applied to atheism. Sorensen : 373–388) christened the Kripke-inspired formulation of atheism ‘Unicorn Atheism’ and argued from there to the incoherence of agnosticism. But, I argue, the objection fails and instead presents an opportunity to reformulate agnosticism. By appreciating the relevance of Kripkean semantics to the issue, a better understanding of the two positions, and their conflict, emerges.

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Yuval Avnur
Claremont College

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References found in this work

Higher Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.
Epistemic Akrasia.Sophie Horowitz - 2014 - Noûs 48 (4):718-744.
Why Suspend Judging?Jane Friedman - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):302-326.
Suspended judgment.Jane Friedman - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):165-181.
Belief is weak.John Hawthorne, Daniel Rothschild & Levi Spectre - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1393-1404.

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