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The Self-Defeating Character of Skepticism [ABSTRACT] Douglas C. Long Philosophical skepticism arises from a Cartesian first-person perspective that initially rejects as unjustified any appeal to sense perception. I argue that, contrary to the cogito argument, when a “purely subjective” epistemology cuts one off from justified beliefs about the world in this way, it undermines justified belief about one’s own existence as an individual in the world as well. Therefore, philosophical doubt expressed in the form: “I know that I exist but I cannot know about the existence of anything else,” is in fact self-defeating. Philosophers have mistakenly assumed that the subjective epistemological perspective from which philosophical doubt about the existence of material objects is expressed is indeed our ordinary first person perspective on ourselves. And we of course know that the latter perspective surely provides epistemological access to ourselves as existing active subjects of experience. However, I claim that traditional wholesale epistemological skepticism in fact attempts to mandate an importantly different perspective on ourselves that we do not and cannot have. 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 Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind  Epistemology  Skepticism  Cogito
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI ppr19925214
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Self-Defeating Beliefs and Misleading Reasons.Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1):57-72.
Skepticism, Abductivism, and the Explanatory Gap.Ram Neta - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):296-325.

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