Defeating the self-defeat argument for phenomenal conservativism

Philosophical Studies 152 (3):347-359 (2011)
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Abstract

Michael Huemer has argued for the justification principle known as phenomenal conservativism by employing a transcendental argument that claims all attempts to reject phenomenal conservativism ultimately are doomed to self-defeat. My contribution presents two independent arguments against the self-defeat argument for phenomenal conservativism after briefly presenting Huemer’s account of phenomenal conservativism and the justification for the self-defeat argument. My first argument suggests some ways that philosophers may reject Huemer’s premise that all justified beliefs are formed on the basis of seemings. In the second argument I contend that phenomenal conservativism is not a well-motivated account of internal justification, which is a further reason to reject the self-defeat argument. Consequently, the self-defeat argument fails to show that rejecting phenomenal conservativism inevitably leads one to a self-defeating position.

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John M. DePoe
University of Iowa (PhD)

References found in this work

The Structure of Empirical Knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
The Problems of Philosophy.Bertrand Russell - 1912 - Home University Library.
Skepticism and the Veil of Perception.Michael Huemer (ed.) - 2001 - Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

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