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Questions tagged [skepticism]

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When might gambling be worth the risk? [closed]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IYRC7g2ICg&feature=player_embedded Watch this first. The question was generated and the term gambling was used to not only represent monetary values.
7
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1answer
91 views

How are the assumptions underlying logic chosen?

Logic works based on certain assumptions about its rules. How are these axiomatic assumptions selected in the first place, given that a system of logic does not exist prior to the point of selection? ...
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2answers
107 views

Are there any certainties besides “Cogito, ergo sum”?

Descartes said, "Cogito, ergo sum(I think, therefore I am)". I agree with him on the fact that this is the only thing that we can ever truly know for sure. Is there anyone who could tell me if there ...
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4answers
145 views

Is Solipsism self-defeating?

If only my mind existed it would have to create the concept of time but nothing can be created without time, therefore solipsism is self-defeating. Shouldn't this automatically rule out solipsism?
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1answer
93 views

Is this a good argument against Simulation and Brain in a Vat hypotheses?

I was wondering about these skeptical hypotheses regarding the reality we experience. More specifically I wanted to address the Simulation and Brain in a Vat arguments because to me they seem kind of ...
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3answers
75 views

How do moral skeptics respond to the concept of permissible heinous acts

The Problem Let's say I am debating my friend Jake who believes that morality exists. But I am a hard determinist who believes that all actions are predetermined by some act or event beforehand. Jake ...
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4answers
134 views

Is “Why is the sky blue?” a philosophical question or scientific?

Why is "Why is the sky blue?" such a common question made by children? And why has that question about the question never been asked before? Is it that the question is just a cultural artifact, that ...
3
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1answer
76 views

What is the name of the school of thought that holds “humans did it”?

My world view is that there is no way to peek behind the curtains of the universe to reveal its truths-- whether spiritual, religious, or even scientific. I don't think the word to describe this is ...
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8answers
3k views

How can a non-religious person justify or rationalize hope or optimism in an absurd world?

I don't mean to make this post too personal, but I've been in the midst of the first kind of existential funk in my life. A bunch of negative things have happened around me recently, and as a pretty ...
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0answers
28 views

Does Sosa's modal definition of knowledge beg the question?

In his 1999 paper "How to Defeat Opposition to Moore", Ernest Sosa argues that sceptical, Nozickian tracking, relevant-alternative, and contextualist accounts of the sceptical paradox rely on the ...
2
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1answer
67 views

Cartesian Skepticism within a Coherentist Epistemology

I recently decided that it is high time I reacquaint myself with the early moderns, and I thought there could be no better place to start with than Descartes' Mediations on First Philosophy. Reading ...
2
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1answer
58 views

Does Hume's skepticism about induction extend to his treatise?

Can we extend Hume's skeptical conclusions to the treatise itself? How far reaching is Hume's skepticism, and if it is all-encompassing, then what is (as he sees) the purpose of his work?
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1answer
101 views

How does Rawls defend himself from skepticism?

How does Rawls defend himself from skepticism? I know most philosophers try to defend their philosophical ideologies against skepticism by presenting requirements for what philosophical ethical ...
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1answer
95 views

Who was the Philosopher who said to jump into the fire if you think it is not real?

Just as the title says. There was a philosopher who said that you should jump into a fire if you think it might not exist and see how it goes. I cannot find it on google, maybe I am typing in the ...
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0answers
55 views

Looking for an epistemology/skepticism book recommendation

I'm looking for a book recommendation or online resource. I'm putting a children's curriculum together on skepticism, but first there are a lot of things I need to learn myself. Here are the things ...
3
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4answers
328 views

Slippery slope fallacy, clarification on its correct use

I was having a discussion with some friends about Charlottesville, (BTW We're from and live in Ireland) My friend was supporting the idea of physically assaulting Neo Nazi's. My argument was number ...
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2answers
78 views

What skeptical arguments do not use induction?

What skeptical arguments do not use induction? I haven't yet found anything which says these do not exist, so doubt that they don't. But I'm still intrigued, as SEP says that [a] way to motivate ...
1
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1answer
277 views

How is Hume's criticism of causality tied to his epistemological presuppositions? What responses can be offered by challenging them?

Hume once criticized the principle of causality, claiming that the causal connection between two objects was a projection of the mind. To what extent is Hume's criticism of causality linked to his ...
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2answers
138 views

Argument Evaluation for Rejecting the Skeptic

I have an argument outline for rejecting hard-skepticism, though I'm not quite sure if it fully works and I was wondering if it's actually interesting, or just rubbish. Firstly, I'll lay out the 3 ...
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2answers
715 views

Is Universal Skepticism self-defeating? [duplicate]

Universal Skepticism seems to boldly claim certainty in the knowledge that knowledge is impossible. The obvious contradiction here is that if they really believe their own theory, it should force ...
1
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1answer
80 views

Are universal skepticism and foundationalism at odds?

As I understand it, universal skepticism says that everything is uncertain. For example, you can't even say that you are sure that 1=1 because it depends upon your notion of equality. There are no ...
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3answers
201 views

Can we prove that we can't prove reality? [closed]

Basically, can we prove that we won't be able to overcome the skeptic argument? Anything I should look up to better understand this?
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2answers
267 views

Does Hume's skepticism about causality depend on his belief that all ideas are derived from sense impressions?

I'm aware of Hume's argument and definitions of cause (though I'm very much open to any kind of discussion around the topic). But I'm most interested in how important his assertion that all ideas are ...
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2answers
207 views

When is Skepticism not the best policy? What are its limits? [duplicate]

Skepticism is a tool. A useful tool for dealing with many misinformation and half truths. However, like all tools, it has its strong and weak sides. In which areas of philosophical thinking is ...
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3answers
147 views

Who was the first (philosopher/scientist?) to say that we can't know much about the outer world?

Kant was always talking about the 'ding an sich', that we can't know what such a thing is in reality. But from Descartes we already have the thesis that we can only really know our perceptions, while ...
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5answers
533 views

How far can/should one press philosophical doubt?

Should we keep on questioning until nothing is left to question or is there a point on which we need to stand (which we often tend to do)? Descartes used 'I think' as this fixed point where the ...
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2answers
75 views

Looking at Descartes, does the temporality of consciousness justify doubt in it?

Let's look again at Descartes' cogito argument: “let him [the deceiving demon] deceive me as much as he can, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I think that I am something. ...
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0answers
46 views

Is it right to deduce intention/action from circumstantial evidence from position of a skeptic?

In many cases it might not be possible to have direct evidence to conclude intention/action of a person. Only circumstantial evidence may be available. From position of a skeptic, is it right to ...
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5answers
360 views

Recommendations for philosophical texts for a skeptic/determinist/existential nihilist?

I've always toyed with philosophy but never really got into it. I know the basic ideas of the basic schools but never got past the freshman intro course level. However, lately I've been doing some ...
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5answers
301 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 ...
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1answer
119 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 ...
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4answers
183 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 ...
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4answers
417 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 ...
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1answer
129 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 ...
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9answers
358 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 "...
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1answer
927 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 ...
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11answers
8k 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 ...
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1answer
126 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.
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12answers
6k 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 ...
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4answers
664 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 de-...
3
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1answer
156 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 copy ...
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6answers
586 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 ...
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2answers
539 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 A'...
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3answers
241 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?
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2answers
152 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. ...
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0answers
160 views

What are the arguments in favor of scepticism today?

It seems that today the common opinion is that Wittgenstein "killed" philosophical skepticism with his Philosophical Investigations (PI) and his private language argument. After PI, the number of ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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2answers
103 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 ...
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3answers
307 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 ...
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1answer
215 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 ...