Rationalist Responses to Skepticism: A New Puzzle

Philosophers' Imprint 15 (2015)
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Most promising responses to skepticism fall into “Moorean” or “rationalist” camps. Mooreans believe that some apparently circular forms of reasoning allow us to have justification to believe that skeptical hypotheses are false. Rationalists believe that we have a priori justification to believe that skeptical hypotheses are false. It can seem that anti-skeptics are stuck choosing between fishy circular reasoning and mysterious a priori justification. I present a new difficulty for rationalism by focusing on skeptical scenarios wherein our faculties of a priori reasoning are untrustworthy. In dealing with these scenarios, rationalists end up having to embrace the same sorts of circular reasoning that Mooreans use to deal with more familiar skeptical scenarios. As a result, there is no viable diagnosis of what's wrong with Moorean reasoning that does not also apply to rationalism: both anti-skeptical approaches are in the same boat when it comes to embracing circular reasoning



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