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Lecture 13

Lecture 13 - Skepticism

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Daniel Kofman

Oct. 29, 2013  Skepticism – Descartes vs. Locke  Descartes thinks he’s found an indubitable belief from which he can build all following beliefs  Skepticism was developed as a method of questioning beliefs  During the enlightenment having strong premises were sufficient for belief  It was expected that you have strong and unwavering faith (antithetical stance)  Different forms of skepticism – usually asserting the impossibility of knowledge either of something (local) or at all (general/global)  Epistemic vs metaphysical skepticism  Sometimes the assertion is you can’t know the claim (local)  Sometimes the assertion that it doesn’t exist (global)  Someone making metaphysical assertion is claiming to know something about the world (where the thing under question exists or not)  It’s easier to defend epistemic skepticism (claim: I don’t know)  Ex: Hume  Causation vs. reasons to doubt causation (account for each)  The skeptic will make an assertion that our structure (cognitive, etc.) can’t help but leap to this conclusion  Simplifies assumptions, which it is not entitled to make Strategies for saving knowledge from skepticism: 1. Foundationalism 2. Coherentism 3. Showing skepticism is self-refuting - Epistemic skepticism denies something but defends it at the same time. Semantic externalism – skeptic doesn’t use words that hold meaning, assumes the existence of things. 4. Various ignoring skepticism strategies: Ignoring requires adducing reasons why my belief is more reliable than skepticism 1.4 Ordinary language (Austin, Wittgenstein, Lewis) 1.5 Empiricism (Locke: realism best explanation; abduction – inference to the best explanation) Abduction makes inference
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