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Abstract

The author argues in favor of a claim concerning a version of radical skepticism that he calls ‘dubitative’. Unlike the radical skepticism once described by Jan Woleński that consists in the skeptic’s total refraining from making any definite statements, ‘dubitative skepticism’ consists in the skeptic’s expression of his/her doubt as regards to whatever he/she is presented with, including his/her own putative statements. ‘Doubt’ equals ‘lack of having a justification’ for a given definitive statement. This attitude is incontrovertibly possible for both a relevant p and a not-p. But ‘doubt about having a justification for p’ is incompatible with ‘doubt about not having a justification for p’. Whatever choice is made in the end, it is contained in the skeptic’s actual statement to the effect that he/she has knowledge concerning something, i.e. a knowledge that concerns his/her state of mind plus the knowledge that he/she has expressed it in the statement itself (and so on, ad infinitum). This extirpates radicalism from the skepticism of a dubitative skeptic, who, as it appears, by no means denounces any commitment to making a statement or to having knowledge. The article closes with an appropriate formal argument expressed in standard terms.
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Abstract

According to Descartes, it is possible to doubt successfully that there is external world, all around us, yet still to have language, in place, without any complication. According to Wittgenstein, to doubt everything about the external world except language means nothing more than to doubt everything about the external world including language. Why? No speaker is more certain about the meaning of his words than about the external things he believes to be unassailable (for example, that he has two hands and two legs). Without this constitutive connection there would be no communication of a definite sense. Wittgenstein suggests that, after the author of the Meditations on First Philosophy adopts the hypothesis of evil deceiver, we are only under the impression that we deal with language (or that we read a text). We instead deal with symptoms of something rather different. The objective of this paper is to critically reassess Wittgenstein’s criticism of the possibility of holding such a radical sceptical position.
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