Philosophia 35 (2):181-196 (2007)

James R. Beebe
State University of New York, Buffalo
The abductivist reply to skepticism is the view that commonsense explanations of the patterns and regularities that appear in our sensory experiences should be rationally preferred to skeptical explanations of those same patterns and regularities on the basis of explanatory considerations. In this article I critically examine Laurence BonJour’s rationalist version of the abductivist position. After explaining why BonJour’s account is more defensible than other versions of the view, I argue that the notion of probability he relies upon is deeply problematic, that he incorporates an implausible double-standard concerning a priori and a posteriori justification, and that his view is vulnerable to skepticism about the a priori. I suggest that some of these problems are due to idiosyncratic commitments BonJour makes and that abductivists would be better off without them. I conclude with some suggestions about how to improve BonJour’s abductivist response to skepticism.
Keywords Skepticism  Abductivism  Rationalism  Inference to the best explanation  BonJour  Explanationism
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-007-9055-y
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Empirical Knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Thought.Gilbert H. Harman - 1973 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Abductivist Reply to Skepticism.James R. Beebe - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):605-636.
BonJour on Explanation and Skepticism.Jonathan Vogel - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):413-421.
General Solution to All Philosophical Problems With Some Exceptions.Wayde Beasley - forthcoming - north of parallel 40: Numerous uncommitted.

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Can Rationalist Abductivism Solve the Problem of Induction?James Beebe - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2):151-168.
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