Skepticism: The Hard Problem for Indirect Sensitivity Accounts

Erkenntnis 79 (1):45-54 (2014)
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Abstract

Keith DeRose’s solution to the skeptical problem is based on his indirect sensitivity account. Sensitivity is not a necessary condition for any kind of knowledge, as direct sensitivity accounts claim, but the insensitivity of our beliefs that the skeptical hypotheses are false explains why we tend to judge that we do not know them. The orthodox objection line against any kind of sensitivity account of knowledge is to present instances of insensitive beliefs that we still judge to constitute knowledge. This objection line offers counter-examples against the claim of direct sensitivity accounts that sensitivity is necessary for any kind of knowledge. These examples raise an easy problem for indirect sensitivity accounts that claim that there is only a tendency to judge that insensitive beliefs do not constitute knowledge, which still applies to our beliefs that the skeptical hypotheses are false. However, a careful analysis reveals that some of our beliefs that the skeptical hypotheses are false are sensitive; nevertheless, we still judge that we do not know them. Therefore, the fact that some of our beliefs that the skeptical hypotheses are false are insensitive cannot explain why we tend to judge that we do not know them. Hence, indirect sensitivity accounts cannot fulfill their purpose of explaining our intuitions about skepticism. This is the hard problem for indirect sensitivity accounts

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Author's Profile

Guido Melchior
University of Graz

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