August 12, 2022

Taking Skepticism Seriously


Responses to skeptical arguments need to be serious: they need to explain not only why some premise of the argument is false, but also why the premise is plausible, despite being false. Moorean responses to skeptical arguments are inadequate because they are not serious: they do not explain the plausibility of false skeptical premises (Sects. 2–3). Skeptical arguments presuppose the truth of the following two claims: the requirements for epistemic justification are internalist, and these internalist requirements are never satisfied (with respect to our beliefs about the external world). In this paper, I provide a serious response to the skeptic on behalf of the internalist: I explain why the claim that internalist requirements are never satisfied is plausible but false. First, I argue that the claim is plausible, but only insofar as one lacks an account of how perceptual experiences make it rational to hold beliefs about the external world (and the skeptic does lack such an account) (Sect. 4). Second, I provide such an account of experiential rationality, and I argue that in light of this account John McDowell can be understood as persuasively arguing that the claim that internalist requirements are never satisfied is false (Sects. 5–6).

August 12, 2022 at 05:37PM

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