Skepticism About The External World

Good Essays
Skepticism about the external world is one of the most widely discussed arguments in the history of philosophy. Barry Stroud defines skepticism as the idea that we cannot have knowledge about the external world (Stroud, page 1). This conclusion is the result of Rene Descartes’ Dream Argument and has been a topic of discussion ever since. No matter how we attack the argument, it seems that we inevitably arrive at skepticism. In this paper, I will argue that the skeptical conclusion is true and why it seems to be compelling as a necessary condition for knowledge. I will describe the Dream Argument and take a look at Moore’s promising response to the conclusion as an inconsistent proof. In the end, Moore’s argument for evidence of an external world will fail to disprove the skeptical conclusion due to its lack of justified belief. Although I am intuitively inclined to deny the skeptical argument, I cannot logically do so but will argue against full-blown skepticism and explain how mild skepticism is a more approachable route to knowledge. In our everyday conversation, we do not generally question the validity of small claims that we make during normal interactions. In Meditation 1, Descartes decides that it is the right time to reevaluate the foundation of knowledge that he will rest his life upon from that point forward. He puts in question the things that he thinks he knows for certain. He acknowledges that everything he knows has been perceived from the senses or through
Get Access