Skepticism and Circular Arguments


Authors
Daniel Johnson
Shawnee State University
Abstract
Perhaps the most popular and historically important way of responding to skepticism is by an appeal to non-inferential justification. A problem with this sort of response is that while it may constitute a response to skepticism, it does not constitute a response to the skeptic. At some point, the anti-skeptic must simply fall silent, resigned to the fact that his or her non-inferential justification for the belief challenged by the skeptic is not communicable. I want to point out a possible solution to this problem. I will argue that, in certain circumstances, it is possible to adduce circular arguments which are nevertheless rationally persuasive, and that the anti-skeptic may employ these arguments in lieu of simply falling silent when a non-inferentially justified belief is challenged. The almost universal assumption among philosophers that epistemically circular arguments are rationally useless is mistaken, and this fact can be utilized by the clever anti-skeptic.
Keywords justification   circular arguments   Thomas Reid   foundationalism   skepticism
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DOI 10.1163/22105700-03011094
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References found in this work BETA

Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
The Skeptic and the Dogmatist.James Pryor - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):517–549.
Evidentialism.Richard Feldman & Earl Conee - 1985 - Philosophical Studies 48 (1):15 - 34.
Epistemic Circularity: Malignant and Benign.Michael Bergmann - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (3):709–727.

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