Take-Home Final Exam - Antonio Alarcon 12/14/07 PHIL 441...

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Antonio Alarcon 12/14/07 PHIL 441 Theory of Knowledge Take-Home Final Exam 1) This “contingent real-world skepticism” relies largely on the following argument by Feldman, “…That, more often that we might have thought, suspension of judgment is the epistemically proper attitude…in such cases we lack reasonable belief and so…knowledge” (Feldman, 217). In this statement, Feldman is not concerning the nature of symmetrical disagreement, but rather the origins and conclusions from such symmetrical disagreements. As implied by any skeptical conclusion, the result commonly hints toward defeat and/or inaction. Although this is an undesirable outcome, Feldman accurately presents symmetrical situations in which individual points of view can be determined to be somewhat privileged. Conversely, any argument against the above position results in muddled judgment, highlighted by van Inwagen’s quarrel concerning the nature of philosophical disagreement, “How can I believe (as I do) that free will is incompatible with determinism…when David Lewis…rejects these things I believe and is already aware of and understands perfectly every argument that I could produce in their defense” (Feldman, 218). All-in-all, the majority of the argument lies within the existence of reasonable disagreements after full disclosure . To emphasize the general structure of disagreements, Feldman assumes two individuals. Given that both individuals have been presented with symmetrical evidence for the proposition, P, and that both are compatible at levels of rationality — Pro will believe P while Con will take P as false (Feldman, 219). From this preceding evidence, Feldman distinguished two key stages in which disagreement may be considered between both individuals: isolation and full disclosure . Within isolation, both Pro and Con have come to their respective conclusions, of which the outcome is undeniably true with the given symmetical evidence. Within full disclosure, both Pro and Con have both discussed the issue at hand concerning proposition, P — both come to understand the other’s reasons and arguments to come to a competing conclusion (Feldman, 220). Given the above stages and the disagreements apparent within each, it is logical that reasonable disagreements in isolation as well as full disclosure can occur. However, to claim that mutually recognized reasonable disagreements beyond full disclosure occur indicates a flaw within the nature of disagreement. In such cases Feldman claims that a suspension of judgment be called for, as the nature of the disagreement has been rendered invalid by conflicting, reasonable, points of view (Feldman, 235). In response to Feldman, van Inwagen proposes that reasonable disagreements exist within the light of “superficial” symmetrical disagreements. Such cases reveal that the symmetry granted within examples involving Pro and Con by Feldman are void as they cannot occur given that belief, or reasonableness, is not achieved by the available evidence but rather various other
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Take-Home Final Exam - Antonio Alarcon 12/14/07 PHIL 441...

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