Questions tagged [skepticism]

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5answers
349 views

How do philosophers respond to global skepticism?

I saw a video of a philosopher (Robert Audi) who said that common sense is the best response we can give to global skepticism. I would agree, but it's not clear to me what the nature of common sense ...
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0answers
41 views

Difference between *skepticism* and *fallibilism*?

Is the difference simply something like this: Skepticism: Certainty is never possible. Fallibilism: Certainty is not usually possible.
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1answer
37 views

Chalmers'argument that the brain in the VAT does not lead to skepticism [closed]

Chalmers gave an argument that the brain in the VAT does not lead to skepticism (even if I am the brain in the VAT, I can also say "I have one hand is true") in his "The Matrix as Metaphysics"(for the ...
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2answers
83 views

Is it epistemically untenable to posit a total explanation of reality?

I am certainly not well-versed in metaphysics, so please correct the terminology I have employed throughout. When I speak of a total explanation of reality, I am describing an explanation that ...
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1answer
189 views

Do philosophers recognize a deeper problem behind issues like the Problem of the Criterion or the Munchausen Trilemma?

First off, I would like to make it clear that I'm not implying I discovered some secret knowledge about the problems mentioned in the title that has alluded other philosophers for the past 2000+ years....
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1answer
68 views

Is existence a necessary condition for thinking? [closed]

Is existence a necessary condition for thinking? Descartes argues that because he thinks, he exists. But wouldn't he have to exist in the first place for him to: A) Think and B) Realize that he ...
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1answer
91 views

Do stories contain “Meta-truth”? Jordan Peterson

I am hoping someone can help me find what is wrong and/or right with the idea of "meta-truth". I am also curious as to what can be problematic. ..I don't think "meta-truth" is defined officially. ...
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1answer
129 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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1answer
150 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
59 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
166 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
237 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
148 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
123 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
73 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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3answers
291 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
90 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
130 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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0answers
85 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
105 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
198 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
139 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
242 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
587 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
201 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
106 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
699 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
95 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
96 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
70 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
134 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
118 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
623 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
108 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
790 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
172 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
108 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
220 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
489 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
256 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
162 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
727 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
94 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
53 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
476 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 ...