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  1. Descartes's Method of Doubt.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    Enlightenment philosopher, René Descartes, set out to establish what could be known with certainty, untainted by a deceiving demon. With his method of doubt, he rejected all previous beliefs, allowing only those that survived rigorous scrutiny. In this essay, Leslie Allan examines whether Descartes's program of skeptical enquiry was successful in laying a firm foundation for our manifold beliefs. He subjects Descartes's conclusions to Descartes's own uncompromising methodology to determine whether Descartes escaped from a self-imposed radical skepticism.
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  2. Descartes and the Crazy Argument.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    In Meditation I, Descartes dismisses the possibility that he might be insane as a ground for doubting that the senses are a source of knowledge of the external world. In this paper, I argue that Descartes was justified in so doing, and draw some general epistemological conclusions from this result.
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  3. Disjunctivism and Scepticism.Duncan Pritchard & Chris Ranalli - forthcoming - In Baron Reed & Diego E. Machuca (eds.), Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present. Bloomsbury Academic.
    An overview of the import of disjunctivism to the problem of radical scepticism is offered. In particular, the disjunctivist account of perceptual experience is set out, along with the manner in which it intersects with related positions such as naïve realism and intentionalism, and it is shown how this account can be used to a motivate an anti-sceptical proposal. In addition, a variety of disjunctivism known as epistemological disjunctivism is described, and it is explained how this proposal offers a further (...)
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  4. Idealism and Illusions.Robert Smithson - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):137-151.
    According to the idealist, facts about phenomenal experience determine facts about the physical world. Any such view must account for illusions: cases where there is a discrepancy between the physical world and our experiences of it. In this paper, I critique some recent idealist treatments of illusions before presenting my own preferred account. I then argue that, initial impressions notwithstanding, it is actually the realist who has difficulties properly accounting for illusions.
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  5. Skeptical Invariantism, Considered.Gregory Stoutenburg - 2021 - In Christos Kyriacou & Kevin Wallbridge (eds.), Skeptical Invariantism Reconsidered. pp. 80-101.
    In this paper I consider the prospects for a skeptical version of infallibilism. For the reasons given above, I think skeptical invariantism has a lot going for it. However, a satisfactory theory of knowledge must account for all of our desiderata, including that our ordinary knowledge attributions are appropriate. This last part will not be easy for the infallibilist invariantist. Indeed, I will argue that it is much more difficult than those sympathetic to skepticism have acknowledged, as there are serious (...)
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  6. We Can't Know.Markus Lammenranta - 2020 - In Steven Cowan (ed.), Problems in Epistemology and Metaphysics : An Introduction to Contemporary Debates. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 38-51.
    The paper defends Cartesian skepticism by an argument relying on internalism and infallibilism. It argues that this sort of skepticism gives the best explanation of our intuitions and ordinary epistemic practices.
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  7. Quatro Desafios Céticos ao Saber.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2020 - In Antonio José Pêcego (ed.), Direito e Filosofia: Em Busca do Saber. Uberlândia, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil: Editora Brazil Publishing. pp. 147-176.
    O ceticismo é por vezes descartado como uma doutrina absurda e merecedora do seu lugar distante na antiguidade. Nada poderia ser menos correto. O ceticismo continua extremamente relevante para o pensamento filosófico e científico de hoje, servindo como um lembrete de que a sabedoria não é barata nem segura. Nesse texto, o meu objetivo principal é reproduzir o raciocínio das discussões clássicas sobre o ceticismo, mas de uma maneira coloquial e contemporânea. Após seguir as linhas de pensamento de Sexto Empírico, (...)
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  8. Perceptual Justification and the Cartesian Theater.David James Barnett - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 6.
    According to a traditional Cartesian epistemology of perception, perception does not provide one with direct knowledge of the external world. Instead, your immediate perceptual evidence is limited to facts about your own visual experience, from which conclusions about the external world must be inferred. Cartesianism faces well-known skeptical challenges. But this chapter argues that any anti-Cartesian view strong enough to avoid these challenges must license a way of updating one’s beliefs in response to anticipated experiences that seems diachronically irrational. To (...)
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  9. Radical Scepticism and the Epistemology of Confusion.J. Adam Carter - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism (3):1-15.
    The lack of knowledge—as Timothy Williamson (2000) famously maintains—is ignorance. Radical sceptical arguments, at least in the tradition of Descartes, threaten universal ignorance. They do so by attempting to establish that we lack any knowledge, even if we can retain other kinds of epistemic standings, like epistemically justified belief. If understanding is a species of knowledge, then radical sceptical arguments threaten to rob us categorically of knowledge and understanding in one fell swoop by implying universal ignorance. If, however, understanding is (...)
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  10. Simon Foucher and Anti-Cartesian Skepticism.Michael W. Hickson - 2019 - In Delphine Antoine-Mahut, Steven Nadler & Tad Schmaltz (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Descartes and Cartesianism. Oxford, UK: pp. 678-690.
    A survey of the skepticism of Simon Foucher, with particular attention to his objections to Descartes' philosophy.
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  11. Wenn ich mich nicht irre. Ein Versuch über die menschliche Fehlbarkeit.Geert Keil - 2019 - Stuttgart: Reclam.
    Jeder Mensch irrt – ausgenommen der Papst, wenn er Glaubenssätze verkündet. So jedenfalls befand einst das erste Vatikanische Konzil. Nun waren die Kardinäle, so bemerkt Keil frech, selbst keineswegs Träger der päpstlichen Unfehlbarkeit. »Woher wussten sie dann, dass der Papst unfehlbar ist?« Niemand weiß vorher, wann und wo er sich irren wird. Viele Philosophen haben daraus geschlossen, dass Menschen nichts wissen, sondern immer nur vermuten. Das ist aber ein Irrtum, den dieser kluge und kurzweilige Essay aufklärt.
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  12. The Basing Relation and the Impossibility of the Debasing Demon.Patrick Bondy & J. Adam Carter - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (3):203.
    Descartes’ demon is a deceiver: the demon makes things appear to you other than as they really are. However, as Descartes famously pointed out in the Second Meditation, not all knowledge is imperilled by this kind of deception. You still know you are a thinking thing. Perhaps, though, there is a more virulent demon in epistemic hell, one from which none of our knowledge is safe. Jonathan Schaffer thinks so. The “Debasing Demon” he imagines threatens knowledge not via the truth (...)
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  13. Skepticism: Historical and Contemporary Inquiries.G. Anthony Bruno & A. C. Rutherford (eds.) - 2018 - Routledge.
    Skepticism is one of the most enduring and profound of philosophical problems. With its roots in Plato and the Sceptics to Descartes, Hume, Kant and Wittgenstein, skepticism presents a challenge that every philosopher must reckon with. In this outstanding collection philosophers engage with skepticism in five clear sections: the philosophical history of skepticism in Greek, Cartesian and Kantian thought; the nature and limits of certainty; the possibility of knowledge and related problems such as perception and the debates between objective knowledge (...)
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  14. Structuralism as a Response to Skepticism.David J. Chalmers - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (12):625-660.
    Cartesian arguments for global skepticism about the external world start from the premise that we cannot know that we are not in a Cartesian scenario such as an evil-demon scenario, and infer that because most of our empirical beliefs are false in such a scenario, these beliefs do not constitute knowledge. Veridicalist responses to global skepticism respond that arguments fail because in Cartesian scenarios, many or most of our empirical beliefs are true. Some veridicalist responses have been motivated using verificationism, (...)
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  15. Knowledge for Nothing.Patrick Michael Greenough - 2018 - In Peter Graham & Nikolaj Pedersen (eds.), New Essays on Entitlement. Oxford University Press.
    Let Entitlement Epistemology be the theory of knowledge which says that entitlement—a special kind of unearned warrant to accept or believe—can help us successfully address a range of sceptical arguments. Prominent versions of this theory urge that epistemology should not be concerned with knowledge (and similar externalist states) but rather with justification, warrant, and entitlement (at least insofar as these are conceived of as internalist states). Knowledge does not come first, half-way, or even last in epistemological theorising—rather, it ought to (...)
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  16. A World Without a Past: New Challenges to Kant's Refutation of Idealism.Justin Remhof - 2018 - Southwest Philosophy Review 34 (1):171-180.
    In the Refutation of Idealism, Kant aims to defeat the Cartesian radical skeptical hypothesis that empirical reality might not exist and we cannot have knowledge of it. Kant intends to demonstrate that conscious experience presupposes direct experience of empirical reality. This paper presents new challenges to the conclusions Kant reaches in the Refutation. Kant’s argument turns on the claim that the past must exist, and my challenges concern the possibility that there is no past.
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  17. Ignorance and Knowledge: The Viability of Externalist Neo-Mooreanism as a Resonse to Radical Scepticism.John Asquith - 2017 - Dissertation, King's College London
    Here, I shall be examining the viability of a Moorean response to the Argument from Ignorance; i.e., one that tries to rebut the argument by denying its first premise that we cannot have knowledge that we are not BIVs. After first explicating the Argument from Ignorance in detail, I then go on to try and motivate this approach by critically examining two alternative approaches to dealing with radical scepticism: closure-denial, and attributer contextualism. Finding them wanting, I then turn to a (...)
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  18. Transcendental Arguments, Conceivability, and Global Vs. Local Skepticism.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (2):735-749.
    In this paper, I argue that, if transcendental arguments are to proceed from premises that are acceptable to the skeptic, the Transcendental Premise, according to which “X is a metaphysically necessary condition for the possibility of Y,” must be grounded in considerations of conceivability and possibility. More explicitly, the Transcendental Premise is based on what Szabó Gendler and Hawthorne call the “conceivability-possibility move.” This “inconceivability-impossibility” move, however, is a problematic argumentative move when advancing transcendental arguments for the following reasons. First, (...)
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  19. Serious Theories and Skeptical Theories: Why You Are Probably Not a Brain in a Vat.Michael Huemer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1031-1052.
    Skeptical hypotheses such as the brain-in-a-vat hypothesis provide extremely poor explanations for our sensory experiences. Because these scenarios accommodate virtually any possible set of evidence, the probability of any given set of evidence on the skeptical scenario is near zero; hence, on Bayesian grounds, the scenario is not well supported by the evidence. By contrast, serious theories make reasonably specific predictions about the evidence and are then well supported when these predictions are satisfied.
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  20. Putnam on Brains-in-Vats and Radical Skepticism.Duncan Pritchard & Chris Ranalli - 2016 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Brain in a Vat. Cambridge University Press.
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  21. Undercutting Underdetermination‐Based Scepticism.Natalie Alana Ashton - 2015 - Theoria 81 (4):333-354.
    According to Duncan Pritchard, there are two kinds of radical sceptical problem; the closure-based problem, and the underdetermination-based problem. He argues that distinguishing these two problems leads to a set of desiderata for an anti-sceptical response, and that the way to meet all of these desiderata is by supplementing a form of Wittgensteinian contextualism with disjunctivist views about factivity. I agree that an adequate response should meet most of the initial desiderata Pritchard puts forward, and that some version of Wittgensteinian (...)
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  22. Lotteries, Possibility and Skepticism.Daniel Immerman - 2015 - Skepsis: A Journal for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Research 12:51-67.
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  23. Meta-Epistemological Scepticism: Criticisms and a Defence.Chris Ranalli - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
    The epistemological problem of the external world asks: (1) “How is knowledge of the world possible given certain obstacles which make it look impossible?” This is a “how-possible?” question: it asks how something is possible given certain obstacles which make it look impossible (cf. Cassam 2007; Nozick 1981; Stroud 1984). Now consider the following question, which asks: (2) “How is a philosophically satisfying answer to (1) possible?” Scepticism is the thesis that knowledge of the world is impossible. It therefore represents (...)
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  24. Wittgensteinian Epistemology and Cartesian Skepticism.Nicola Claudio Salvatore - 2015 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):53-80.
    In this paper, I present and criticize a number of influential anti-skeptical strategies inspired by Wittgenstein’s remarks on ‘hinges’. Furthermore, I argue that, following Wittgen- stein’s analogy between ‘hinges’ and ‘rules of grammar’, we should be able to get rid of Cartesian skeptical scenarios as nonsensical, even if apparently intelligible, combinations of signs.
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  25. What’s the Matter with Epistemic Circularity?David James Barnett - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (2):177-205.
    If the reliability of a source of testimony is open to question, it seems epistemically illegitimate to verify the source’s reliability by appealing to that source’s own testimony. Is this because it is illegitimate to trust a questionable source’s testimony on any matter whatsoever? Or is there a distinctive problem with appealing to the source’s testimony on the matter of that source’s own reliability? After distinguishing between two kinds of epistemically illegitimate circularity—bootstrapping and self-verification—I argue for a qualified version of (...)
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  26. Rorty, Williams, and Davidson: Skepticism and Metaepistemology.Duncan Pritchard & Chris Ranalli - 2013 - Humanities 2 (3):351-368.
    We revisit an important exchange on the problem of radical skepticism between Richard Rorty and Michael Williams. In his contribution to this exchange, Rorty defended the kind of transcendental approach to radical skepticism that is offered by Donald Davidson, in contrast to Williams’s Wittgenstein-inspired view. It is argued that the key to evaluating this debate is to understand the particular conception of the radical skeptical problem that is offered in influential work by Barry Stroud, a conception of the skeptical problem (...)
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  27. Effective Sceptical Hypotheses.Steven L. Reynolds - 2013 - Theoria 79 (3):262-278.
    The familiar Cartesian sceptical arguments all involve an explanation of our experiences. An account of the persuasive power of the sceptical arguments should explain why this is so. This supports a diagnosis of the error in Cartesian sceptical arguments according to which they mislead us into regarding our perceptual beliefs as if they were justified as inferences to the best explanation. I argue that they have instead a perceptual justification that does not involve inference to the best explanation and that (...)
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  28. Scepticism, Infallibilism, Fallibilism.Tim Kraft - 2012 - Discipline Filosofiche 22 (2):49-70.
    The relation of scepticism to infallibilism and fallibilism is a contested issue. In this paper I argue that Cartesian sceptical arguments, i.e. sceptical arguments resting on sceptical scenarios, are neither tied to infallibilism nor collapse into fallibilism. I interpret the distinction between scepticism and fallibilism as a scope distinction. According to fallibilism, each belief could be false, but according to scepticism all beliefs could be false at the same time. However, to put this distinction to work sceptical scenarios have to (...)
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  29. Motivating Disjunctivism.Thomas Lockhart - 2012 - In Günter Abel & James Conant (eds.), Rethinking Epistemology Volume 2. De Gruyter. pp. 309-347.
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  30. Radical Skepticism, Closure, and Robust Knowledge.J. Adam Carter - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:115-133.
    The Neo-Moorean response to the radical skeptical challenge boldly maintains that we can know we’re not the victims of radical skeptical hypotheses; accordingly, our everyday knowledge that would otherwise be threatened by our inability to rule out such hypotheses stands unthreatened. Given the leverage such an approach has against the skeptic from the very start, the Neo-Moorean line is an especially popular one; as we shall see, though, it faces several commonly overlooked problems. An initial problem is that this particular (...)
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  31. XII—Is There a Problem of Other Minds?Anil Gomes - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):353-373.
    Scepticism is sometimes expressed about whether there is any interesting problem of other minds. In this paper I set out a version of the conceptual problem of other minds which turns on the way in which mental occurrences are presented to the subject and situate it in relation to debates about our knowledge of other people's mental lives. The result is a distinctive problem in the philosophy of mind concerning our relation to other people.
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  32. A Closer Look at Closure Scepticism.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Paperback) 106 (3):381-390.
    The most prominent arguments for scepticism in modern epistemology employ closure principles of some kind. To begin my discussion of such arguments, consider Simple Knowledge Closure (SKC): (SKC) (Kxt[p] ∧ (p → q)) → Kxt[q].1 Assuming its truth for the time being, the sceptic can use (SKC) to reason from the two assumptions that, firstly, we don’t know ¬sh and that, secondly, op entails ¬sh to the conclusion that we don’t know op, where ‘op’ and ‘sh’ are shorthand for ‘ordinary (...)
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  33. The Equivocal or Question-Begging Nature of Evil Demon Arguments for External World Skepticism.Mylan Engel - 2005 - Southwest Philosophy Review 21 (1):163-178.
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  34. Contemporary Scepticism and the Cartesian God.Jennifer Nagel - 2005 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):465-497.
    Descartes claims that God is both incomprehensible and yet clearly and distinctly understood. This paper argues that Descartes’s development of the contrast between comprehension and understanding makes the role of God in his epistemology more interesting than is commonly thought. Section one examines the historical context of sceptical arguments about the difficulty of knowing God. Descartes describes the recognition of our inability to comprehend God as itself a source of knowledge of him; section two aims to explain how recognizing limits (...)
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  35. Scepticism and Tragedy : Crossing Shakespeare with Descartes.Anthony Palmer - 2004 - In Denis McManus (ed.), Wittgenstein and Scepticism. Routledge.
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  36. The Workings of the Intellect: Mind and Psychology.Gary Hatfield - 1997 - In Patricia Easton (ed.), Logic and the Workings of the Mind: The Logic of Ideas and Faculty Psychology in Early Modern Philosophy. Ridgeview Publishing Co. pp. 21-45.
    Two stories have dominated the historiography of early modern philosophy: one in which a seventeenth century Age of Reason spawned the Enlightenment, and another in which a skeptical crisis cast a shadow over subsequent philosophy, resulting in ever narrower "limits to knowledge." I combine certain elements common to both into a third narrative, one that begins by taking seriously seventeenth-century conceptions of the topics and methods central to the rise of a "new" philosophy. In this revisionist story, differing approaches to (...)
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  37. Science, Certainty, and Descartes.Gary Hatfield - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:249 - 262.
    During the 1630s Descartes recognized that he could not expect all legitimate claims in natural science to meet the standard of absolute certainty. The realization resulted from a change in his physics, which itself arose not through methodological reflections, but through developments in his substantive metaphysical doctrines. Descartes discovered the metaphysical foundations of his physics in 1629-30; as a consequence, the style of explanation employed in his physical writings changed. His early methodological conceptions, as preserved in the Rules and sketched (...)
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  38. The Senses and the Fleshless Eye: The Meditations as Cognitive Exercises.Gary Hatfield - 1986 - In Amelie Rorty (ed.), Essays on Descartes' Meditations. University of California Press. pp. 45–76.
    According to the reading offered here, Descartes' use of the meditative mode of writing was not a mere rhetorical device to win an audience accustomed to the spiritual retreat. His choice of the literary form of the spiritual exercise was consonant with, if not determined by, his theory of the mind and of the basis of human knowledge. Since Descartes' conception of knowledge implied the priority of the intellect over the senses, and indeed the priority of an intellect operating independently (...)
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  39. The Impact and Residue of Cartesian Dualism: The Relevance of Cartesian Skepticism.Cathy Dobson - manuscript
    A concise review of skeptician in the Carterian model with a discussion of the reframing of the Cartesian paradigm by John McDowell in the 20th century.
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  40. Skeptical Stories: Introduction to Live Skepticism.Bryan Frances - manuscript
    The epistemological consequences of paradox are paradoxical. They can be usefully generated by telling a series of once-upon-a-time stories that make various philosophical points, starting out innocent and ending up, well, paradoxical. This is an introduction to my Live Skepticism, defended in Skepticism Comes Alive.
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  41. Skepticism, Logical Independence, and Epistemic Priority.Kirk Ludwig - manuscript
    Radical skepticism about the external world is founded on two assumptions: one is that the mind and the external world are logically independent; the other is that all our evidence for the nature of that world consists of facts about our minds. In this paper, I explore the option of denying the epistemic, rather than the logical assumption. I argue that one can do so only by embracing externalism about justification, or, after all, by rejecting the logical independence assumption. Since (...)
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