Disbelieving the sceptics without proving them wrong

It is true of many truths that I do not believe them. It is equally true, however, that I cannot rationally assert of any such truth both that it is true and that I do not believe it. To explain why this is so, I will distinguish absence of belief from disbelief and argue that an assertion of “p, but I do not believe that p” is paradoxical because it is indefensible, i.e. for reasons internal to it unable to convince. A closer examination of the irrationality involved will show that such is the skeptic’s predicament, trying to convince us to bracket knowledge claims we have good grounds to take ourselves to be entitled to. Even if the sceptic cannot be proven wrong, his challenge still demands an answer, if not a treatment. In this paper, I argue that the cure lies in epidemiology rather than epistemology: instead of attacking the sceptic head-long, I commend guerilla tactics, vaccinating our fellow non-sceptics against the sceptical virus. I will not argue that the sceptic is wrong, necessarily wrong or that he cannot be believed, but that he cannot convince. Scepticism requires a leap of faith: something we may justifiably refrain from even on the sceptic’s own standards
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Reconsidering Closure, Underdetermination, and Infallibilism.Jochen Briesen - 2010 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 80 (1):221-234.
The Problem of Insulation.Wai-hung Wong - 2002 - Philosophy 77 (3):349-373.
Self-Knowledge and Scepticism.Jeff Malpas - 1994 - Erkenntnis 40 (2):165-184.
Descriptive Analysis and the Sceptic.Anfinn Stigen - 1961 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 4 (1-4):228 – 269.
Book Symposium.D. Lawrence Wieder - 2001 - Philosophical Books 42 (3):161-195.


Added to PP index

Total views
42 ( #184,868 of 2,237,183 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #122,026 of 2,237,183 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature