Can Skepticism Be Defended, Perhaps In A Limited Form? Essay examples

2139 Words 9 Pages
Can Skepticism Be Defended, Perhaps In A Limited Form?

1. Introduction

This essay centres around what it means to know something is true and also why it is important to distinguish between what you know and do not or can not know.

The sceptic in challenging the possibility of knowing anything challenges the basis on which all epistemology is based. It is from this attack on epistemology that the defence of scepticism is seen.

2. Strong Scepticism

Strong scepticism states that it is not possible to know anything. That is we cannot have absolute knowledge of anything. This can however immediately have the reflexive argument turned on it and have the question begged of it: “If it is not possible to know anything then how is it you know
…show more content…
Two examples of a persons sensual perception leading them astray are as follows.

Two people are looking at a white object. The first person is looking at the object through a transparent red sheet and the other through a transparent green sheet. Neither person knows that the sheets are there so both come away with different conclusions and perceptions as to what colour the object in front of them is. (Cornman, Lehrer, Pappas, 1992, pp. 46-47)

Another example is when two people are looking at an oblong object from different angles one may see a perfect rectangle the other a perfect square.
(Cornman, Lehrer, Pappas, 1992, pp. 46-47)

The point I am making here is that sensual perceptions are all relevant to the position of the observer. This is not a good situation for something that we contrive to get justification for our knowledge from.

5. The Brain in the Vat Argument

This argument is similar to the one in Plato's republic in that it involves an imaginary situation where the people or person involved believes that they have knowledge (Plato, Cave Analogy, Book VII).

In the brain in the vat example the brain believes that it is a fully functioning human being and there exists an external world around it. The reason for the brain believing that it knows this is that it has reasonable belief due to the fact that everything in it's environment coheres, this is
Open Document