Questions tagged [skepticism]

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What do you call refusing to accept any proposition when there is any remote possibility it could be false?

What do you call the philosophical position of a person who radically denies any knowledge saying the contrary might be true. Example: Aspirin cures headaches. Response: There are people on which ...
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Does the brain in a vat problem shift the burden of proof?

When I've encountered arguments about the brain in a vat problem, they went something like We could be brains in a vat, with a simulated reality, how could we know we are not? But isn't this ...
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What should I learn beforehand to understand Jordan B Peterson's view on symbolism?

To begin to Understand Peterson's View on Symbolism and it's manifestation and representation, what prior works are recommended to read/review that either serve as the basis for his conjectures, or ...
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4answers
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When can we have certainty in what we claim to know?

This is a question that my friends asked me a few times. I am confused, because I have been trying to answer this question myself, but I can't seem to come up with any valid answer. For example, what ...
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51 views

How do radical skeptics address the following knowledge "Something may be or may not be"?

How do radical skeptics address the following knowledge "Something may be or may not be"? The proposition "Something may be or may not be" covers all possibilities and therefore is ...
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Are there other reasons than "the world is an illusion" that the radical skeptics use to doubt almost everything?

Are there other reasons than "the world is an illusion or a simulation" that the radical skeptics use to doubt almost everything? I don't think there's a better reason than it, but maybe ...
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Is there any counterexample given against radical skepticism?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_skepticism I am thinking that simple statement such as "I am", "I think" are all beliefs that are also knowledge and conditional statements ...
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Question about Cogito, ergo sum

As far as I know Decartes tried to prove that he existed from the fact that he was thinking. And he thought this was only proof. My question is following: -- why is the argument brought up above, ...
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Question about the IEP’s (Michael Huemer’s) formulation of phenomenal conservatism

(I posted the identical question on the AskPhilosophy subreddit.) I first learned about phenomenal conservatism under a different name, “the principle of credulity”, from the philosopher of religion ...
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Is there any proof of assertion that "assertion can be proved"?

Here's some reason to doubt any proof: Dissent – The uncertainty demonstrated by the differences of opinions among philosophers and people in general. Progress ad infinitum – All proof rests on ...
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1answer
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Is doubting inner world is like doubting external world? [closed]

Does scepticism of external world and sceptical on inner world of same level? Like someone doubting external world doesn't exists, it is illusion or process or emergence by inner world, only inner ...
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Is it self-defeating for commentators to tell people not to believe or trust the media?

For example: let's suppose that I am a conspiracy theorist and commentator, my job is to report what goes on in the world of politics, social media, and give my opinions. Is it self-defeating to tell ...
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Could a Pyrrhonic Skeptic Procedurally know?

is the concept of Procedural Knowledge, inconsistent with Pyrrhonic Skepticism? i ask this as, it does not seem that Procedural Knowledge coincides with the model of Knowledge espoused by Pyrrhonic ...
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Is Philosopical Skepticism self-defeating?

Whilst researching philosophical skepticism, I found this answer to the question here which states the following: [Jon Erison] Extreme skepticism is in fact self-defeating. According the the ...
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Is watching an amputated limb regrow proof of the supernatural?

A typical challenge skeptics present when confronted with claims of alleged miracles is "why won't God Heal amputees?". But, would that do the job? Consider the following thought experiment: ...
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Can you give other examples of skeptical hypotheses that haven't been mentioned yet?

I need some help with my philosophy homework. We were told to formulate our own skeptical hypothesis and use it as part of a radical skeptical argument, and that the skeptical hypothesis needs to be ...
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1answer
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What's Sextus Empiricus recommended book about scepticism?

Having read Cicero's Academics, I'd like to learn a bit more about skepticism (through original texts, not summaries). If a had to read only one book from Sextus Empiricus, would you recommend the ...
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375 views

Philosophical assumptions underlying science

I am a medical student and have been interested lately in the foundations of the scientific research method I have been taught. I've read that there is in fact no such thing as a unique scientific ...
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How can beliefs be justified when they are always subject to Cartesian skepticism?

It seems obvious to me that after glancing at my watch I "know" what time it is. But this apparent "knowledge" can be explained away by infinitely many skeptical hypotheses. ...
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The anatomy of miracles [duplicate]

I myself think miracles are phenomena that cannot be explained by extant accepted theories. Now, science and scientific method claims to reject miracles and propose a reason and logic for every ...
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Where does Moore admit that no one really knows the truth about those propositions that supposedly we all know?

Alfred Jules Ayer, in a conference where he exposes the achievements of Moore, starts it by saying: "It is true that Moore diminishes the force of his position by adding that no one knows the ...
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5answers
449 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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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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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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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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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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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
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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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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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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
681 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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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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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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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
183 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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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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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
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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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565 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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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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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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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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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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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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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
793 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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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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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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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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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 ...