Epistemological disjunctivism: Neo-Wittgensteinian and moderate neo-Moorean

Episteme 17 (4):438-457 (2020)

Abstract

ABSTRACTDuncan Pritchard proposes a biscopic solution to the problem of radical skepticism, which consists in epistemological disjunctivism and a theory about the limits of rational evaluation inspired by Wittgenstein's On Certainty. According to the latter theory, we cannot have rationally grounded knowledge of the denials of radical skeptical hypotheses, a consequence that Pritchard finds attractive insofar as he thinks that claims to know the falsity of radical skeptical hypotheses are epistemically immodest. I argue that there is room for a neo-Moorean to dispute Pritchard's argument for the Wittgensteinian proposal and I raise some doubts about its underlying motivation. Finally, I put forward an alternative, which I call “moderate neo-Moorean epistemological disjunctivism.” While this theory contends that we possess rationally grounded anti-skeptical knowledge, it also allows for a degree of epistemic modesty, by conceding that perceptual knowledge never amounts to knowledge that is absolutely certain.

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Joshua Stuchlik
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

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