Radical scepticism and the epistemology of confusion

Carter, J. A. (2019) Radical scepticism and the epistemology of confusion. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism, 9(3), pp. 223-237. (doi:10.1163/22105700-20191387)

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Abstract

The lack of knowledge—as Timothy Williamson famously maintains—is ignorance. Radical sceptical arguments, at least in the tradition of Descartes, threaten universal ignorance. They do so by attempting to establish that we lack any knowledge, even if we can retain other kinds of epistemic standings, like epistemically justified belief. If understanding is a species of knowledge, then radical sceptical arguments threaten to rob us categorically of knowledge and understanding in one fell swoop by implying universal ignorance. If, however, understanding is not a species of knowledge, then three questions arise: (i) is ignorance the lack of understanding, even if understanding is not a species of knowledge? (ii) If not, what kind of state of intellectual impoverishment best describes a lack of understanding? (iii) What would a radical sceptical argument look like that threatened that kind of intellectual impoverishment, even if not threatening ignorance? This paper answers each of these questions in turn. I conclude by showing how the answers developed to (i–iii) interface in an interesting way with Virtue Perspectivism as an anti-sceptical strategy.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carter, Dr J Adam
Authors: Carter, J. A.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:International Journal for the Study of Skepticism
Publisher:Brill
ISSN:2210-5697
ISSN (Online):2210-5700
Published Online:29 July 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2019
First Published:First published in International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 9(3):223-237
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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