Douglas C. Long
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
An important source of doubt about our knowledge of the "external world" is the thought that all of our sensory experience could be delusive without our realizing it. Such wholesale questioning of the deliverances of all forms of perception seems to leave no resources for successfully justifying our belief in the existence of an objective world beyond our subjective experiences. I argue that there is there is a fatal flaw in the very expression of philosophical doubt about the "external world." Therefore, no such justification is necessary. The feature of skepticism which I believe renders it vulnerable is the assumption that each of us has a right to be certain of his own existence as a subject of conscious experience even in the face of comprehensive doubt about our empirical beliefs.
Keywords Skepticism, external world  Epistemology  Perception  Self-knowledge  Descartes
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.2307/2107744
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Contextualism and the Problem of the External World.Ram Neta - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):1–31.
Self-Defeating Beliefs and Misleading Reasons.Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1):57-72.
In Defense of Reliabilism.Jarrett Leplin - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 134 (1):31 - 42.
Contextualism and the Problem of the External World.Ram Neta - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):1-31.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

“Is Relativism Self-Defeating?”.Harold Zellner - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:287-295.
Skepticism About Character Traits.Gilbert Harman - 2009 - The Journal of Ethics 13 (2-3):235 - 242.
Why Reasons Skepticism is Not Self‐Defeating.Stan Husi - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (3):424-449.
Exuberant Skepticism.Paul Kurtz - 2010 - Prometheus Books 59 John Glenn Drive.
Self-Defeating Arguments.John L. Pollock - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (4):367-392.
Performative Transcendental Arguments.Adrian Bardon - 2005 - Philosophia 33 (1-4):69-95.


Added to PP index

Total views
163 ( #70,813 of 2,498,793 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #102,133 of 2,498,793 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes