How to Be Sure: Sensory Exploration and Empirical Certainty

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I can be wrong about things I seem to perceive; the conditions might lead me to be mistaken about them. Since I can't rule out the possibility that the conditions are misleading, I can't be sure that I am perceiving this thing in my hand correctly. But suppose that I am able to examine it actively—handling it, looking closer, shining a light on it, and so on. Then, my level of uncertainty goes down; in the limit it is eliminated entirely. Of course, I might be mistaken because I am a brain in a vat, or because some other sceptical scenario obtains. But sceptical scenarios apply not just to this thing in my hand, but to everything all at once. Define "empirical certainty" as the absence of the kind of doubt that spreads to all empirical states of affairs. Sensory exploration, or active examination, can in principle lead to empirical certainty.
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First archival date: 2011-07-23
Latest version: 2 (2011-07-23)
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