Disarming the Live Sceptical Threat

Bryan Frances

in Scepticism Comes Alive

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780199282135
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602917 | DOI:
Disarming the Live Sceptical Threat

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The live sceptic’s threat is disarmed by taking away their sword: making the factors that threaten one’s beliefs lose their punch without meeting them head on. In this way, the mere mortal need not have any impressive epistemic factors such as evidence that neutralize the sceptical hypotheses, as the latter never posed any threat that had not somehow been rendered truth-conditionally irrelevant to knowledge assertions. Two such strategies are presented. The first, the Set-Aside solution, claims that people explicitly or implicitly set the live sceptical hypotheses aside as truth conditionally irrelevant when they assert ‘S knows P’ and P conflicts with the hypotheses. The second, the Practicality solution, claims that in ordinary contexts practicality and other contextualist factors bracket the sceptical hypotheses so that they aren’t threatening.

Keywords: scepticism; epistemic threat; defeater; context; knowledge attribution; contextualism; relevant alternatives; anti-sceptical strategies

Chapter.  6659 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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