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4
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5answers
148 views

Is this a legitimate solution to the brain in a vat problem?

The problem: "Since the brain in a vat gives and receives exactly the same impulses as it would if it were in a skull, and since these are its only way of interacting with its environment, then it is ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

If metaphysical grounding of beliefs is not necessary what is to logically compel one to believe anything?

'Grounding' is the notion that 'because of X, Y', X being the reason one can accept Y beyond pragmatic considerations. In this way, X and Y are analogous to cause and effect respectively. If it is ...
0
votes
4answers
131 views

Can we have knowledge if it all turns out to be untrue?

Can every apparently true belief turn out to be untrue: and what is the word for this stance? I would assume it would mean we have no knowledge: is that right? Someone on a forum I use keeps ...
0
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0answers
26 views

Does the argument for Boltzmann brains depend on it being merely possible?

The argument for Boltzmann brains seems to be that the odds of being one is much greater than being as we actually are, or seem to be. I wanted to know whether the argument is undermined if we assume ...
6
votes
4answers
187 views

Why is “the problem of criterion” problematic?

If I understand it correctly, the problem of criterion is essentially that you can only identify knowledge if you have the criteria for knowledge, but that you can only have the criteria for knowledge ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Is naturalized epistemology insincere?

The insincerity objection is often raised against skeptical positions (nominalism, anti-realism, anti-intellectualism, solipsism, etc.). An ancient anecdote tells of a skeptic, who taught that actions ...
10
votes
9answers
285 views

What epistemic principle allows us to be certain that highly improbable events will never occur in real life?

Consider the following scenario: I am alone at home and I accidentally spill a bottle of ketchup on my kitchen floor, and the ketchup splatters across the floor in such a way as to form the words ...
6
votes
1answer
148 views

Was the Brain-in-a-Vat thought experiment explored philosophically before Putnam?

On SciFi.SE there's a question about the origins of "captive brains" in literature. Upon seeing the question I presumed it originated as a philosophical thought experiment (and then made it's way to ...
12
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11answers
2k views

What are some arguments against the brain-in-a-vat thought experiment?

I read this article about how this guy in Switzerland did an experiment that he thought proved the Simulation Hypothesis of reality (link: http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.1847). I have also been reading ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

How does Kant's transcendental argument show that the basis for Skepticism is unintelligible?

I understand Kant's categories, however I don't understand their value in arguing against skepticism.
45
votes
9answers
4k views

How can an uneducated but rational person differentiate between science and religion?

I recently found myself unable to respond to the statement "But the big bang theory is just another creation myth!" during a science vs. religion argument. I found it very difficult to explain the ...
3
votes
5answers
258 views

Is there any connection between mental illness and philosophical thought?

Philosophical position like solipsism are well thought out and definitely rational. Nevertheless it's unusual from practical commoner's point of view. Is it possible that mental condition like ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

In respect of Pyrrho and the late skeptical tradition

How possible is to assume the metaphysical interpretation of Pyrrho's philosophy and still see him as a predecesor of the Sextus skeptical tradition? Isn't any kind of "skeptical spirit" in the ...
2
votes
0answers
78 views

What do Montaigne, Paine, and Wittgenstein have in common?

What do philosophers Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), Thomas Paine (1736-1809), and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) have in common? I found this question scribbled in the margin of a library ...
2
votes
6answers
197 views

Is logic built on assumptions?

I'm sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but how can we know that our logical approach to ideas is not in itself based on assumptions. For example, how can we know that the workings of the ...
0
votes
2answers
249 views

Can we tell we are not fictional characters of someone who exists in the same world as us?

There might be two or more writers, who are also the characters in another writer's story. That is, A is a character in B's story, and B is a character in C's story, ... finally X is a character in ...
3
votes
3answers
181 views

Regarding Atheism and skeptics

Do there exist non-religious or non-christian writers or philosophers that analyse Atheism from a skeptical point of view?
3
votes
2answers
84 views

Should a skeptic consider anecdote as evidence?

I asked this question on Skeptics SE, and they referred me here. I've heard some skeptics say that any anecdotal evidence should be dismissed immediately, as anecdote is notoriously unreliable. ...
1
vote
2answers
897 views

Why is the “brain in a vat” scenario meaningful?

In class we discussed the famous "brain in a vat" case, where since you can't differentiate between that case and "reality", you have no way of knowing that you are, in fact, in reality. But what I ...
0
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2answers
68 views

Good introductory reading to skepticism?

In various works that I've read recently, the writers referred to the skeptics several times, and I thought that maybe I should try actually learning something about them. I was hoping for some text ...
2
votes
3answers
138 views

Are there any notable philosophical skeptics since Nietzsche, perhaps in the style of Nietzsche?

I'm a bit taken by Nietzsche's philosophical skepticism, which is skeptical even of scientific knowledge. I've come to believe that the more rigorous you are in your thinking, the more skeptical you ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Is philosophical (total) skepticism compatible with the modern scientific world view?

I've been interested in philosophical skepticism lately as I've just recently learned about the close relationship between certain schools of ancient skepticism and fallibilism, which I'm told is the ...
4
votes
9answers
628 views

Shouldn't fallibilism be a reason to abandon science?

The Wikipedia page on Fallibilism (currently) makes the intriguing claim that "Fallibilism is related to Pyrrhonistic Skepticism, in that Pyrrhonists of history are sometimes referred to as ...
2
votes
2answers
125 views

Could the Pyrrhonians be wrong?

The Pyrrhonians believed that "ataraxia" can be obtained by suspending judgement upon anything non-evident. They also noted the senses are faulty and the intellect too obscure, to understand and ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

Term for skepticism about whether a concept is meaningful

What is the term for the philosophical stance that a given concept which people seem to imbue with meaning actually has no meaning, especially if this means it makes no sense to speak of believing in ...
14
votes
6answers
861 views

“I trust my senses” — Why does this tend to be restricted to the external senses?

I routinely come across mini-epistemologies that start with something like: Cogito ergo sum. (presupposes "I", oops!) My senses are sufficiently reliable. These days, it is often admitted that we ...
0
votes
5answers
347 views

What empirical evidence would exclude the Intelligent Designer hypothesis?

While there aren't indisputable (to say the least) arguments supporting the Intelligent Designer thesis, I had never seen (or imagined myself) an argument that could definitively debunk this ...
1
vote
2answers
47 views

Approximately what is the proportion of philosophers who support each of the main responses to scepticism?

There are lots of ways we can respond to the sceptic: the Moorean approach, externalism, contextualism or deny closure. (There maybe other common responses I've forgotten.) Very roughly, what ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is 1+1=2 true by definition ?

Is 1+1=2 true by definition ? Or, is there a way to prove it? I'm trying to understand how do we know it's true, and how to reply if someone is skeptical or denies that 1+1=2.
6
votes
2answers
399 views

Kant vs Brain in the vat

If my interpretation is correct, Kant argued in the Critique of pure reason and Prolegomena that: The existence of an external world guarantees that we can intuit, conceive, etc internally. This ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

Why is the Münchhausen trilemma an unsolved problem?

Why is the Münchhausen trilemma unsolved? Couldn't anybody find some reasons for proving/disproving it? Or are there other reasons for it being called "unsolved"? the trilemma If we ask of any ...
1
vote
1answer
292 views

Is this an example of a true contradiction?

EDIT: after - a little reflection on the critiques I've retracted my claim. The principla confusion, for me, was confusing existence as a form of the intuition & transcendentally. Kant marks a ...
5
votes
1answer
267 views

How does Descartes make contact with the world?

Descartes' cogito allows him to deny extreme sceptism; but then how does he actually make contact with the world as opposed to saying - I exist and the world is my (unconscious) invention -, i.e. ...
3
votes
1answer
422 views

What are the skepticism ideas Nagel refers to in “The Absurd”?

In Thomas Nagel's article "The Absurd", there's this note: I am aware that skepticism about the external world is widely thought to have been refuted, but I have remained convinced of its ...
5
votes
2answers
636 views

Was Karl Popper a “dedicated opponent of all forms of scepticism”? If so, why, or how?

While reading the Wikipedia article on Karl Popper, I was surprised to find that one of the article's sources, in its lede paragraph, claims that Karl Popper was a "dedicated opponent of all forms of ...
0
votes
2answers
728 views

Can we create the Matrix?

Can we fully simulate the reality for a Brain in the Vat (BIV)? For example i clone myself and connect the clone's brain to a very sophisticated computer, which simulates a part of the universe (for ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Inductive reasoning and justification

Most people agree that knowing something one acquired from inductive reasoning is knowledge, that is justified true belief. For example we observed for years, that Sun rises from the East, we still ...
5
votes
2answers
545 views

Convincing a brain in a vat of reality

Pondering at the arguments at wiki: In other words, if a brain in a vat stated "I am a brain in a vat", it would always be stating a falsehood. If the brain making this statement lives in the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What is Kant’s strategy to overcome Humean skepticism without having recourse to the metaphysical excesses of rationalism?

I understand that by metaphysical excesses, he meant supernatural entities, such as God, or the soul, to explain things in the phenomenal world. Also, to my understanding, Hume's skepticism boils ...
2
votes
3answers
140 views

Evidence for ~P vs evidence that P is very unlikely?

Is saying that P is very unlikely, the same as saying that you believe ~P? Does it follow rationally, that if P is very unlikely, one should believe ~P? And would the evidence for P being very ...
-1
votes
1answer
157 views

Who has made the strongest case in favor of skepticism?

Which brand of skepticism is the hardest to refute or argue against? What argument has given the other theories of knowledge the hardest time?
9
votes
6answers
615 views

Claims that we know (virtually) nothing - can they be refuted?

Here's an argument that I've heard a number of times from friends and on the Internet: "The ratio of what we know about the universe to what we have yet to discover is so small - it is therefore ...
5
votes
3answers
655 views

Did Wittgenstein's maxim about doubt and knowing originate from Descartes?

Wittgenstein said, "If you cannot doubt a thing, you cannot know it." For example he said that you cannot know your pain because you cannot doubt that you are in pain. I don't quite understand this ...
13
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3answers
632 views

Does skepticism inevitably lead to ethical relativism?

In this question, I will make a slippery slope argument. It's probably fallacious, but your task is the identify the point where one step does not inevitablly lead to the next step and explain why ...
15
votes
7answers
698 views

Is it possible for a layperson to suitably evaluate scientific disputes?

As a layperson, I try not to fall victim to the Dunning-Kruger effect. As an example, one area where I know that I am vulnerable is when biochemistry intersects with nutrition and disease. Is it ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there any philosophical arguments to disprove or weaken solipsism?

My philosophy professor once told our class: The only people who believe in solipsism are infants and madmen. I was inclined to agree at the time. Yet years later, I have still not encountered any ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Is Skepticism the most rational standpoint?

Is Philosophical Skepticism - the one that advocates true knowledge is impossible, the most rational standpoint? I am asking this based on the observation that there are very few things whose ...
57
votes
19answers
13k views

Could 'cogito ergo sum' possibly be false?

I've heard it postulated by some people that "we can't truly know anything". While that does seem to apply to the vast majority of things, I can't see how 'cogito ergo sum' can possibly be false. ...