When a skeptical hypothesis is live

Noûs 39 (4):559–595 (2005)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
I’m going to argue for a set of restricted skeptical results: roughly put, we don’t know that fire engines are red, we don’t know that we sometimes have pains in our lower backs, we don’t know that John Rawls was kind, and we don’t even know that we believe any of those truths. However, people unfamiliar with philosophy and cognitive science do know all those things. The skeptical argument is traditional in form: here’s a skeptical hypothesis; you can’t epistemically neutralize it, you have to be able to neutralize it to know P; so you don’t know P. But the skeptical hypotheses I plug into it are “real, live” scientific-philosophical hypotheses often thought to be actually true, unlike any of the outrageous traditional skeptical hypotheses (e.g., ‘You’re a brain in a vat’). So I call the resulting skepticism Live Skepticism. Notably, the Live Skeptic’s argument goes through even if we adopt the clever anti-skeptical fixes thought up in recent years such as reliabilism, relevant alternatives theory, contextualism, and the rejection of epistemic closure. Furthermore, the scope of Live Skepticism is bizarre: although we don’t know the simple facts noted above, many of us do know that there are black holes and other amazing facts.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
FRAWAS
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-04-13
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Brainstorms.Dennett, Daniel C.

View all 40 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
341 ( #7,210 of 37,125 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
64 ( #5,305 of 37,125 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.