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The Possibility of Philosophical UnderstandingReflections on the Thought of Barry Stroud$
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Jason Bridges, Niko Kolodny, and Wai-hung Wong

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381658.001.0001

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Stroud's Proposal for Removing the Threat of Skepticism

Stroud's Proposal for Removing the Threat of Skepticism

(p.86) 6 Stroud's Proposal for Removing the Threat of Skepticism
The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding

Jonathan Ellis

Oxford University Press

Barry Stroud is well known as a critic of philosophers who purport to answer, or otherwise deflate, the threat of skepticism of the external world. In several recent papers, however, Stroud argues that we in fact face no threat of skepticism after all. In the first part of this chapter, I assess the prospects of Stroud's antiskeptical argument. In the end, I believe that it relies on an unmotivated and questionable assumption concerning what is required to raise a skeptical threat. Stroud's general antiskeptical strategy, however, of which his particular argument is only an instance, bears considerable promise, I claim. In the second part of the chapter, I discuss this strategy and then offer a different way of implementing it, which I argue is more successful. I conclude that standard arguments for skepticism ultimately depend upon a methodological premise that the skeptic has little reason to accept.

Keywords:   Stroud, skepticism, disengagement, engagement, skeptical hypothesis, brain in a vat, belief attribution, Moore's paradox, insensitivity, error theory

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