The skeptical paradox and the indispensability of knowledge-beliefs

Synthese 143 (3):273-290 (2005)
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Some philosophers understand epistemological skepticism as merely presenting a paradox to be solved, a paradox given rise to by some apparently forceful arguments. I argue that such a view needs to be justified, and that the best way to do so is to show that we cannot help seeing skepticism as obviously false. The obviousness (to us) of the falsity of skepticism is, I suggest, explained by the fact that we cannot live without knowledge-beliefs (a knowledge-belief about the world is a belief that a person or a group of people know that p, where p is an empirical proposition about the world). I then go on to argue for the indispensability of knowledge-beliefs. The first line of argument appeals to the practical aspects of our employment of the concept of knowledge, and the second line of argument draws on some Davidsonian ideas concerning understanding and massive agreement.



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Author's Profile

Wai-hung Wong
California State University, Chico

References found in this work

Elusive Knowledge.David K. Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
Solving the Skeptical Problem.Keith DeRose - 1995 - Philosophical Review 104 (1):1-52.
Deciding to Believe.Bernard Williams - 1973 - In Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136--51.

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