A Dilemma for Skeptics


Authors
Stephen Maitzen
Acadia University
Abstract
Some of the most enduring skeptical arguments invoke stories of deception -- the evil demon, convincing dreams, an envatted brain, the Matrix -- in order to show that we have no first-order knowledge of the external world. I confront such arguments with a dilemma: either (1) they establish no more than the logical possibility of error, in which case they fail to threaten fallible knowledge, the only kind of knowledge of the external world most of us think we have anyway; or (2) they defeat themselves because they must grant us empirical knowledge or justified beliefs of the very kind they must also entirely deny us. Either way they pose no significant threat.
Keywords Knowledge   Skepticism   Deception   Error   Dreaming   Hallucination   Fallibilism   Possibility   Descartes, R.   Moore, G.E.
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
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

1% Skepticism.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):271-290.
How Not to Argue From Science to Skepticism.Stephen Maitzen - 2014 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 4 (1):21-35.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Self-Knowledge Gambit.Berislav Marušić - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):1977-1999.
Skeptical Hypotheses and Moral Skepticism.Joshua May - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (3):341-359.
Dissolving the Skeptical Paradox of Knowledge Via Cartesian Skepticism Based on Wittgenstein.Ken Shigeta - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 53:241-247.
Fallibilism.Stephen Hetherington - 2005 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Dreaming and Skepticism.Norman Malcolm - 1956 - Philosophical Review 65 (January):14-37.
What is the Role of the Self in Self-Deception?Richard Holton - 2001 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (1):53-69.
Self-Knowledge, Externalism, and Skepticism.Brian P. McLaughlin - 2000 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 74 (74):93-118.
Skepticism, A Priori Skepticism, and the Possibility of Error.Hamid Vahid - 2013 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (4):235-252.
Self-Knowledge, Externalism, and Skepticism,I.Brian P. McLaughlin - 2000 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 74 (1):93–118.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-12-21

Total views
218 ( #28,010 of 2,236,361 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #68,399 of 2,236,361 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature