- 12 Replies
So I was going to make this the next topic in the Great Debates, but I figured it might be more fun in a more open format. Before getting to the discussion point, I should make a few things clear.
First, radical scepticism shouldn't be viewed as an actual position that philosophers hold. Instead, it is part of the dialectic that any theory of knowledge should be able to address. So if I develop some particular theory of knowledge, one of the desiderata it should meet it to provide an answer to the sceptical challenge.
Second, the sceptical challenge asks whether (and to what extent) we have knowledge. This is not to say that the sceptic is claiming that we don't know anything - that would be ridiculous! Very, very few philosophers would doubt that we know things such as "Triangles have 3 sides" or "Bachelors are unmarried". Instead, the sceptical challenge is focused on knowledge of the world around us - what we might call empirical knowledge.
So here's the sceptical argument:
1) If I know that I have hands, then I know that I'm not a handless brain-in-a-vat.
2) I don't know that I'm not a handless brain-in-a-vat.
3) Therefore, I don't know that I have hands.
This argument can be generalised to encompass pretty much any claim about the world around us (e.g. that I'm sitting here typing and not just a brain-in-a-vat). Here's what that would look like:
1) If I know very much at all, then I know I'm not a BIV.
2) I don't know I'm not a BIV.
3) Therefore I don't know very much at all.
There are a number of ways to attack the above argument(s), which I would like to be the focus of this thread. Rather than throwing a bunch of jargon in here, I'll just see where this thing goes (if anywhere!).
One helpful hint when looking to attack an argument. The two most important questions you have in your philosophy toolbelt are: 1) 'Is the argument valid?', and 2) 'Is the argument sound?'. (Feel free to take a look at my Introduction to Logic thread for definitions of validity and soundness.)
So the basic question: How can we avoid the above conclusion of radical scepticism?
You must be logged in to post a reply!
We strive to deliver the best gaming experiences on the internet and on your mobile phone. Play thousands of free online games, get access to free mmorpg games, online rpg games, fun online flash games, and more.
We offer free flash games in many different genres: online shooting games, online puzzle games, online war games, free online car games, free online hidden object games and dozens more.
This is the best place on the web to play online games for free! No matter what game style you prefer, we've got it here.
Want to advertise on Armor Games? Send us a note!
Gaming websites, passionate bloggers, and quirky streamers are welcome to share or review our games. If you need game keys, art, trailers, screenshots or more check out our press kit website.
Game developer? Visit developers.armorgames.com to request AG developer status, find documentation on our APIs, and get access to our development environment. Let's make sweet, sweet games together.
Looking for a publishing partner that can help your app rocket to success? Contact the mobile team to learn more about how we can help!