Externalism and skepticism

Keith DeRose
Yale University
A few years back, I participated in the Spindell Conference in Memphis, and gave a paper, “How Can We Know That We’re Not Brains in Vats?” (available on-line at: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~kd47/Spindell.htm). The bulk of that paper concerned responses to skepticism. I pursued an unusually radical criticism of the often-criticized “Putnam-style” responses to skepticism. To put it rather enigmatically, I argued that such responses don’t work even if they work! And I compared such responses with the type of response I favor – the “contextualist Moorean” response – to show how these latter responses are of a type that avoids the radical problems that plague Putnam-style responses. But in the final section of the paper, I turned briefly to a different, though related, issue, presenting my proposed solution to what’s often called the “McKinsey problem.”.
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