Lec 4 - Phil 1, Fall 2011 Prof. Sven Bernecker Slides for...

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Phil 1, Fall 2011 Prof. Sven Bernecker Slides for Lecture 4: Skepticism
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Types of Skepticism • Global or local skepticism • Skepticism about our ability to know or skepticism about our ability to justifiably believe • First-order or second-order skepticism.
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Is Global Skepticism Coherent? • Does it make sense to say, “I know that I know nothing?” Or is it self-contradictory, and hence a statement you know cannot be true? • If so, do you know that you cannot know that you know nothing? Is it therefore impossible to lack all knowledge? Must you at least know that you have some knowledge?
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Descartes‟s Evil Demon Argument • Suppose there is an evil demon, who can put any thought into your mind and mislead you on any subject. The evil demon gettierizes you all the time and thereby prevents you from ever having knowledge. • If there was such a demon, you would lack all knowledge. Therefore you should rule out that there is such a demon. • If you cannot rule out that there is such a demon, you don‟t know anything at all.
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Descartes„s Evil Demon Argument 1) I have some beliefs that are psychologically compelling. 2) It is possible that an evil demon, intent on deceiving me, could be the causal source of these beliefs. 3) If the origin of the beliefs is sufficiently deviant, then the beliefs are false or unjustified. 4) I have insufficient evidence to rule out the evil demon scenario. 5) Hence, it is possible that the origin of the beliefs is sufficiently deviant. 6) Hence, it is possible that the beliefs are false or unjustified. 7) Hence, I do not know.
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External World Skepticism • External world skepticism is the thesis that your mind doesn‟t know anything outside itself. There is no knowledge of an external world – a world external to the mind. • Skepticism about the external world is the thesis that the evidence we have for our beliefs about the external world falls short of what is needed for justification or knowledge.
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Skeptical Hypotheses
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• “How often, asleep at night, am I convinced of just such familiar events – that I am here in my dressing-gown, sitting by the fire – when in fact I am lying undressed in bed! Yet at the moment my
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2012 for the course ECON 25 taught by Professor Shirey during the Spring '11 term at UC Irvine.

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Lec 4 - Phil 1, Fall 2011 Prof. Sven Bernecker Slides for...

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