A (Partial) Defence of Moderate Skeptical Invariantism

In Christos Kyriacou & Kevin Wallbridge (eds.), Skeptical Invariantism Reconsidered. Routledge. pp. 154-171 (2021)
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Skeptical invariantism isn’t a popular view about the semantics of knowledge attributions. But what, exactly, is wrong with it? The basic problem is that it seems to run foul of the fact that we know quite a lot of things. I agree that it is a key desideratum for an account of knowledge that it accommodate the fact that we know a lot of things. But what sorts of things should a plausible theory of knowledge say that we know? In this paper I sketch an answer to this question and then apply it to skeptical invariantism. I start by distinguishing between a “radical” skeptical invariantist position (on which the standards for knowing are so high that we rarely if ever satisfy them) and a more “moderate” skeptical invariantist position (on which the standards are very hard, but not impossible, to satisfy). I then argue that, while radical forms of skeptical invariantism are clearly not going to do a good job of satisfying the key desideratum, more moderate forms can do quite well with respect to it. In particular, I argue the version of moderate skeptical invariantism defended by Davide Fassio can plausibly satisfy it.

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Robin McKenna
University of Liverpool


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