Dogmatism and Moorean Reasoning

According to dogmatism, one may know a proposition by inferring it from a set of evidence even if one has no independent grounds for rejecting a skeptical hypothesis compatible with one’s evidence but incompatible with one’s conclusion. Despite its intuitive attractions, many philosophers have argued that dogmatism goes wrong because they have thought that it licenses Moorean reasoning — i.e., reasoning in which one uses the conclusion of an inference as a premise in an argument against a skeptical hypothesis that would undermine that very inference. In this paper I defend dogmatism against this line of thought. To begin with, I argue that the common assumption that uncontroversial Bayesian principles suffice to show that Moorean reasoning is not cogent is false: for all that Bayesianism says on the matter, Moorean reasoning might be perfectly fine. Nevertheless, Moorean reasoning does seem intuitively defective. As I argue, however, this does not provide grounds for an argument against dogmatism, because — contrary to what many philosophers have thought — dogmatism need not license Moorean reasoning. On the contrary, as I argue, dogmatism predicts that Moorean reasoning suffers from a clearly identifiable defect.
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