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A good question. Every machine is fallible, including the human brain; this means that when the human brain comes up with any conclusion, there is always the possibility it made an error and came to the wrong conclusion. Even if the brain in question is your own. Computers can make occasional errors in calculation due to manufacturing defects, cosmic ray ...


5

It’s certainly true that much less is “proven” than we intuitively like to think. We can still formulate local concepts in maths like “proof in classical axiomatic set theory ZFC”. These embrace the “Assumptions” objection by wearing the Axioms of a given proof clearly on their sleeves - yes, this proof relies on some assumptions, but they are assumptions ...


4

One ancient counterexample for radical skepticism is just ask such a skeptic whether he or she accepts the skeptic's own knowledge that "one should reject any knowledge". If the skeptic accepts then he or she contradicts own POV literally, if one rejects then one rejects one's own POV directly. Either result seems logically awkward for the radical ...


3

A realist and recovering ex-engineer weighs in. The process of living one's life and (metaphorically) getting from A to B constitutes the solution of a never-ending series of problems. Engineer are trained to solve certain classes of problems in the physical world and with the passage of time and experience, they eventually get good at it and are able to pay ...


3

Welcome, don. Thanks for a nice, reflective question. The cogito has much less importance for Descartes than is commonly supposed. Its significance is twofold: (1) it is (merely) the first truth which Descartes has come upon which (as he supposes) 'is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind' (Med. II: Cottingham, II: 17). (2)...


3

In On Certainty Wittgenstein explains how systematic doubt is impractical. Even solipsists who claim every one around them is just a product of their imagination continue to interact with them as if they were real. If they did not, they would soon run put of food, clothes, a place to live... Similarly, one can affect to doubt that logic is even real and ...


2

James Conant has argued that skepticism about other minds and skepticism about the external world are of the same form - Cartesian. It's a lucid argument, and I think gets to what you're asking about. In case you can't access it the article is titled "Two Varieties of Skepticism." https://humstatic.uchicago.edu/philosophy/conant/Conant%202012%20Two%...


1

I don't think that Descartes: tried to prove that he existed from the fact that he was thinking. Rather, he tried to remove errors in his thinking by assuming a skeptical stance toward anything that he thought one might reasonably doubt. Then discovered for himself (although he likely read it beforehand) that he could not reasonably doubt his own existence,...


1

Descartes was the first to take this position, so it is usually called Cartesian Skepticism or Cartesian Doubt: His basic strategy was to consider false any belief that falls prey to even the slightest doubt. This clearing of his previously held beliefs then puts him at an epistemological ground-zero. From here Descartes sets out to find something that lies ...


1

The most straightforward way to refute an argument is to provide a counter example, and what you're calling "the brain in a vat argument" isn't an argument at all, so here's what I suspect is happening (I'm going out on a limb here, so if I'm wrong please just tell me instead of downvoting and I'll delete this answer): Most likely, you're making an ...


1

The purpose of the brain-in-a-vat scenario is not to convince anyone that we might really be a brain in a vat; the purpose is to illustrate the fundamental disconnection between perception and reality. Before the brain-in-a-vat scenario, Descartes made the same point by discussing dreams. The classical view of perception is that when you, for example, look ...


1

Please bear in mind there's a difference between law of non-contradiction (LNC) and law of excluded middle (LEM). LNC essentially says any proposition and its negation cannot both be true at the same time, while LEM essentially says any proposition is either true or false and there's no middle case. And as we know both laws can be violated in non-classic ...


1

The most obvious remark is that if we have no knowledge as to whether some proposition is or is not the case, then we have no knowledge at all. Might-or-might-not is a state of ignorance not a state of knowledge. Since you have not proffered your definition of "knowledge", how can the poor sceptic judge whether it is the same as theirs or not? They ...


1

Famously, Descartes assumed that a claim was false if it "falls prey to even the slightest doubt". He reasoned that if he did this, than any conclusions that he reaches must be undeniably true. Very few people claim that he was incorrect in this idea. Instead, people who reject his philosophy tend to claim that his notion of 'doubt' was not strict ...


1

Bertrand Russell has a famous quote according to here and here: The fundamental argument for freedom of opinion is the doubtfulness of all our belief. The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. So if you don't want to be a radical skeptic, there's at least some ...


1

There's two types of knowledge: Knowledge from looking at the universe, and created knowledge. To be skeptical of created knowledge makes much less sense than knowledge derived from observation. An example of created knowledge is the author of a story: How does he know where the hero has hidden secret widget? Because he decided. Another example might be ...


1

Journalism and journalistic ethics is an interesting topic for philosophy, one that should be considered more. The propagandist attitudes of Hitler's & Stalin's regimes assumed that control of news was an essential function of the power of the state. That gave rise to samizdat media and literature, illegal radio stations and so on. Against a background ...


1

The best book I've read to get a deep grasp from an introductory starter level is Lewis Wolpert's "The Unnatural Nature of Science." Buy used--it is going at a real premium new the last time I looked. He just passed away January 28 of this year at age 93.


1

I came up with this reasoning, made some points clear from my perspective, but it still does not disprove solipsism, rather weaken it: Accept that "my" quale is the only thing that exists. There also are other beings, which my mind makes up that they have their respective qualia. Then "I" should have some degree of control of, or access ...


1

Not a rebuttal, because solipsism is unfalsifiable anyway, but in On Certainty, Wittgenstein shows that in order to survive solipcists have to act hypocritically. Although they will profess they have their own reality or they even just dreamed you and every other people around them, they won't act like it is true. They will continue looking for food, friends,...


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