Erkenntnis 78 (1):59-72 (2013)

Tim Kraft
Universität Regensburg
On a common view of scenario-based sceptical arguments sceptical scenarios are error-possibilities, i.e. their point is to introduce the possibility of having only false beliefs. However, global error is impossible for purely logical/conceptual reasons: Even if one’s beliefs are consistent, the negations of one’s beliefs need not be consistent as well. My paper deals with the question of what the consequences of this result are. Two attempts at repairing scenario-based sceptical arguments within the framework of understanding sceptical scenarios as error-possibilities are found wanting. Instead, what should be given up is the assumption that sceptical scenarios are error-possibilities. What is thought-provoking about the scenario of the brain in a vat is not that none of its empirical beliefs are true, but that all of its empirical beliefs fall short of knowledge at the same time. Hence, sceptical scenarios are not error-possibilities, but ignorance possibilities. If this is so, both the closure argument and the underdetermination argument commit a subtle mistake and should be replaced by slightly different arguments. The principle of excluded ignorance-possibilities turns out to be an epistemological principle that is faithful to scepticism’s tenets without misinterpreting sceptical scenarios as error-possibilities
Keywords Cartesian scepticism  sceptical scenarios  sceptical arguments  ignorance view
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-012-9423-2
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References found in this work BETA

On Certainty (Ed. Anscombe and von Wright).Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1969 - New York and London: Harper Torchbooks.
Elusive Knowledge.David K. Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
Solving the Skeptical Problem.Keith DeRose - 1995 - Philosophical Review 104 (1):1-52.

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Citations of this work BETA

Brains in Vats? Don't Bother!Peter Baumann - 2019 - Episteme 16 (2):186-199.
Scepticism, Infallibilism, Fallibilism.Tim Kraft - 2012 - Discipline Filosofiche 22 (2):49-70.
Skepticism, A Priori Skepticism, and the Possibility of Error.Hamid Vahid - 2013 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (4):235-252.
Defending the Ignorance View of Sceptical Scenarios.Tim Kraft - 2015 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 5 (4):269-295.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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