Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Skepticism: is an expression for the more or less well-formulated view that perceptual subjects cannot in principle have any security with regard to their knowledge about the external world. The doubts about the reliability of the sensory organs can be extended to doubts about the existence of an external world, if the possibility of a fundamental deception, for example by a permanent dream, is accepted. See also verification, evidence, perception, certainty, Moore's hands, solipsism.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Barry Stroud on Skepticism - Dictionary of Arguments

I 13
Descartes: I cannot distinguish alertness from dream.
1. the possibility that he dreams is really a threat to his knowledge of the world.
2. But he does not need to know whether he is dreaming to know something about the world.
No knowledge: if one dreams E.g. that the shutters rattle and the dream caused it, one does not know that it rattles - (false causation, defies identity of the event).
>Causal theory of knowledge, >Causation.
I 17
Alone the possibility of deception is sufficient.
I 18
StroudVsDescartes: we can know sometimes that we are not dreaming - knowing that we do not dream is the condition for knowledge.

I 37
Intersubjectivity: it also is affected by Descartes' skepticism.
>Intersubjectivity, cf. >Solipsism.
I 77
Platitudes/skepticism/Stroud: natural strategy VsSkepticism: e.g. The objective world was there before us. - E.g. I believe that a mountain in Africa is more than 5000m high. - That is completely independent of my knowledge. - Then it is not about assertibility conditions or truth conditions.
>Reality, >Assertibility conditions, >Assertibility, >Truth conditions, >Empiricism.
Otherwise: if you believe that we now know more about physics than 200 years ago, a reference to community and knowledge is implied - now truth condition and assertibility condition but still objectivity.
Aeroplane-example: whether the manual is correct or not, is an objective fact that can be seen from the distanced position.
Distanced position: equivalent to skepticism - and at the same time determination that inside and outside diverge.
Inside: corresponds to our social practice.
I 87
Philosophical skepticism/Stroud: its problem is not empirical.
I 110
Skepticism/Stroud: it is not sufficient to put forward a specific case - Descartes makes an assessment of all our knowledge.
I 270
Imaginability/Stroud: it is hard to say whether something is conceivable or not - a possibility would be to imagine it and see what happens.
Vs: but that is not conclusive, since it may be that what my thoughts make possible for me, is even hidden from me.
I 272f
Dream/skepticism/Stroud: We have not yet asked if the dream opportunity is knowable to others. - StroudVs(s): we can very well "be all in the same boat" - I can use myself instead of Descartes.
Stroud: I always say: it seems possible.
Imaginability: requires comprehensibility. - And the possibility is comprehensible that we all dream - and then the question is whether I am dreaming, completely independent from the fact if someone else knows. - Then it is possible that all dream and nobody knows anything - and the skepticism is not to sit in opposition, thereby that it contradicts its premises.
Conclusion: dream possibility: there is ultimately one because the possibility that someone knows something must not be presupposed.
Stroud pro Descartes.
>Skepticism/Descartes, >René Descartes.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Stroud I
B. Stroud
The Significance of philosophical scepticism Oxford 1984

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2023-06-03
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