Epistemological Realism as the Skeptic’s Heart of Darkness


Authors
Ronald Wilburn
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Abstract
Michael Williams has argued that radical “external world” skepticism, far from being an interesting philosophical discovery about knowledge, is actually a philosophical artifact, a by-product of “Epistemological Realism,” the view that there are objective epistemological relations able to group distinct kinds of “knowledge” (e.g., “experiential” vs. “external worldly”) into a context-invariant evidential order. I argue against this thesis. It is the skeptic’s conception of the world’s objectivity, not his conception of knowledge’s objectivity as a singular unified context-invariant structure, I maintain, that ultimately underlies the skeptic’s result. And where Epistemological Realism does enter the picture, it enters mainly as a consequence of Metaphysical Realism itself. Maintaining that the metaphysical realism at issue here is a natural, indeed platitudinous, doctrine, I argue that skepticism is better viewed as a philosophical discovery about knowledge than as an artifact of contentious philosophical dogma
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_1998_18
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