On the Alleged Instability of Externalist Anti-skepticism

Journal of Philosophy 118 (1):43-50 (2021)
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Abstract

A certain brand of skeptical argument appeals to the thought that our inability to subjectively discriminate between competing hypotheses means that we are unwarranted in believing in either. Externalists respond by pointing out that such arguments depend on an internalist conception of warrant that we would do well to reject. This strategy has been criticised by Crispin Wright who argues that if we pursue the implications of externalism sufficiently far we find that it is ultimately unstable or incoherent. I first rehearse the simple externalist anti-skeptical position. I then present Wright’s argument for the externalist instability, offering a clearer way of understanding its central claim. Finally, I show that the instability in fact arises due to hidden internalist assumptions about evidence and that rid of these assumptions the externalist position is stable after all.

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Matthew Jope
University of Edinburgh

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