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Scepticism Comes Alive$
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Bryan Frances

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282135

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199282137.001.0001

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Disarming the Live Sceptical Threat

Disarming the Live Sceptical Threat

(p.137) 10 Disarming the Live Sceptical Threat
Scepticism Comes Alive

Bryan Frances (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The live sceptic’s threat is disarmed by taking away their sword: making the factors that threaten one’s beliefs lose their punch without meeting them head on. In this way, the mere mortal need not have any impressive epistemic factors such as evidence that neutralize the sceptical hypotheses, as the latter never posed any threat that had not somehow been rendered truth-conditionally irrelevant to knowledge assertions. Two such strategies are presented. The first, the Set-Aside solution, claims that people explicitly or implicitly set the live sceptical hypotheses aside as truth conditionally irrelevant when they assert ‘S knows P’ and P conflicts with the hypotheses. The second, the Practicality solution, claims that in ordinary contexts practicality and other contextualist factors bracket the sceptical hypotheses so that they aren’t threatening.

Keywords:   scepticism, epistemic threat, defeater, context, knowledge attribution, contextualism, relevant alternatives, anti-sceptical strategies

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