Questions tagged [skepticism]

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2
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1answer
108 views

Epistemic pluralism’s potential slippery slope into epistemic nihilism

William James long ago noted that: “Up to about 1850 almost everyone believed that sciences expressed truths that were exact copies of a definite code of non-human realities. But the enormously ...
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0answers
103 views

Hume on infinity

I know Hume argued against dividing finite space into infinitely many regions, but I can't seem to find anything regarding his thoughts on infinity itself. From his Enquiry you sort of get that he ...
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0answers
52 views

Some questions about skepticism and the principle of knowledge?

What about this principle? ("if K (P - > ~ Q), then ~ k (~ Q) - > ~ k (P)") (if you know (P implies non-Q, then you don't know non-Q implies don't know P) I learnt about that Nozick gave an anti ...
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2answers
141 views

I could prove: Solipsism is wrong. Is my argument acceptable?

Solipsism is the idea that one cannot be sure of anyone's existence but only themself. I think that one can assume this idea to be right and then prove that this is wrong. This self-inconsistency ...
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0answers
30 views

Is voting on taxes ethical without being presented the “numbers”?

if I base my vote (on taxes) based on republican or democrat anecdote, as well as my own paycheck, is it the right thing for for me to do, to vote on taxes? I am trying to skeptically look at voting (...
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2answers
220 views

Does externalism solve the Münchhausen trilemma?

In traditional (access-)internalist epistemology, justification is a relation between beliefs, or sets of beliefs. My belief that it will rain today is justified by beliefs about the season, my ...
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2answers
127 views

How do we know we could be brains in vats? [closed]

So-called skeptics usually claim that we don't know some normal facts because they know some abnormal fact about some possibility that undermines knowledge. How do these people know their modal claims ...
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1answer
117 views

How does imprecise and ambiguous natural language relate to the equivocation fallacy and how can we know what words mean?

I am feeling really confused on how we colloquially use and redefine words and sometime use the equivocation fallacy. I have fallen into equivocation language traps before, and as I become more aware ...
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2answers
71 views

Bayes and unknown probabilites: is this reasoning from the failure of explanation a fallacy?

Bayesian probability is an interpretation of the concept of probability, in which, instead of frequency or propensity of some phenomenon, probability is interpreted as reasonable expectation ...
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2answers
230 views

Serious arguments against skepticism about the external world?

As we all know, Kant wrestled with Cartesian skepticism for a long time. And of course, Descartes himself did, but he appeals to a version of the ontological argument which is not very persuasive. ...
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3answers
85 views

Doubt about the possibility of knowing someone is actually saying the truth [closed]

Except for a few cases in which you can have proof someone is saying the truth, can you actually ever know if someone is being honest when they say things like "I love you", "this is nice" or "you ...
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2answers
113 views

Would answering belief challenges be the same as the scientific method?

Let's say I believe this statement: "all swans are white". Someone comes and asks me these Socratic questions: "is it true that all swans are white?", "is there an instance that a swan is not white?", ...
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79 views

How can the position of skepticism avoid becoming incoherent on the problem of the criterion?

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 ...
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0answers
69 views

Name of fallacious reasoning about the reality of abstractions

There is a kind of reasoning that is often heard, where the irreality of some abstraction is inferred from the fact that entities that fall under it are not perfectly homogenous. (1) A lot of times ...
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1answer
102 views

An Argument that Knowledge is a Matter of Choice

I have met someone who argues as follows: What I know depends on what axioms I take. As these axioms are left unjustified, I have as much justification for them as for their negations, so I could ...
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1answer
188 views

Is it possible to track the truth?

Epistemology seems to show that knowledge is always fallible. How can that position be satisfying at all? It seems to me that we are eternally condemned to hope we are going in the right direction and ...
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1answer
128 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
232 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
547 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
170 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
104 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
584 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 ...
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1answer
94 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
60 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 ...
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1answer
90 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 ...
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1answer
67 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
130 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
114 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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4answers
592 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
107 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 ...
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1answer
736 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
168 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
1k 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 ...
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1answer
101 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
217 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
455 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
244 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
161 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
696 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
89 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
52 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
470 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
627 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
287 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
189 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
601 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
147 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
425 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
1k 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 ...