Concerning the problem of the criterion, there has been said to be three traditional responses: methodism, particularism, or skepticism. Although other philosophers have proposed that there are more solutions to the problem than the three listed, for the sake of argument, suppose there are just three options. Here is my question: How does the position of skepticism avoid being incoherent?
From my understanding, the position of the skeptic is the following, taken from Roderick Chisholm's paper "The Problem of the Criterion":
You cannot answer question A until you have answered question B. And you cannot answer question B until you have answered question A. Therefore you can-not answer either question. You cannot know what, if anything, you know, and there is no possible way for you to decide in any particular case.
Given this definition, how is the position of skepticism not incoherent? Although the assumption of the skeptical claim is essential that nothing can be known, the skeptic makes several claims to knowledge, namely:
- She knows that one cannot answer question A (particularism)
- She knows that one cannot answer question B (methodism)
- She knows that she cannot know anything, based on an inference from the knowledge I listed above, which also means
- She knows the laws of logic are true
As you can see, although the conclusion the skeptic reaches is that nothing can be known, the skeptical position cannot be coherently adopted without assuming we have at least some knowledge, even if only a few propositions.