Synthese 198 (Suppl 15):3533-3551 (2021)

Authors
Xiaoxing Zhang
Yunnan University
Abstract
Duncan Pritchard recently proposed a Wittgensteinian solution to closure-based skepticism. According to Wittgenstein, all epistemic systems assume certain truths. The notions that we are not disembodied brains, that the Earth has existed for a long time and that one’s name is such-and-such all function as “hinge commitments.” Pritchard views a hinge commitment as a positive propositional attitude that is not a belief. Because closure principles concern only knowledge-apt beliefs, they do not apply to hinge commitments. Thus, from the fact that a subject knows that he is sitting in a room, and the fact that the subject’s sitting in a room entails his bodily existence, it does not follow that the subject also knows that he is not an envatted brain. This paper rejects Pritchard’s non-belief reading of hinge commitments. I start by showing that the non-belief reading fails to solve the skeptical paradox because the reasons that Pritchard uses to support the non-belief reading do not exempt hinge propositions from closure principles. I then proceed to argue that the non-belief reading is false as it claims that hinge commitments, unlike ordinary beliefs, are rationally unresponsive—with the help of a scenario in which a subject’s experience is internally chaotic, we can safely conclude that the hinge commitment that one is not systematically mistaken about the world is equally responsive to one’s evidential situations.
Keywords Skepticism  Closure  Deduction  Hinge commitment  Wittgenstein  Epistemic revision  Cartesian doubt
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Reprint years 2018, 2021
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-1679-x
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References found in this work BETA

Warrant for Nothing (and Foundations for Free)?Crispin Wright - 2004 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):167–212.
What's Wrong with Moore's Argument?James Pryor - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):349–378.
Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology.Annalisa Coliva - 2015 - London, England: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing.Duncan Pritchard - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):70-90.

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Citations of this work BETA

Scepticism and Epistemic Angst, Redux.Duncan Pritchard - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 15):3635-3664.

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