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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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Defeating the Live Sceptic Head‐On

Defeating the Live Sceptic Head‐On

(p.185) 12 Defeating the Live Sceptic Head‐On
Scepticism Comes Alive

Bryan Frances (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The anti-sceptic can try to argue that regardless of the strength of the epistemic factors that suggest live scepticism, positive epistemic factors such as evidence and reliability are sufficiently strong to defeat it head on, so to speak. This is the Defeated Threat strategy, which comes in three varieties. The Safety-Sensitivity solution is an attempt to solve the puzzle by claiming that worlds in which people falsely believe, e.g., that fire engines are red, are too metaphysically distant (in various ways) to sabotage their knowledge. The Extreme Externalism solution says, roughly, that the reliability of people’s beliefs is enough of a factor to neutralize the sceptical hypotheses. The Tenacity solution insists that knowledge is not the kind of state that can easily be unseated; thus, since people once knew that fire engines are red, that knowledge stays with them even after they become mere mortals with regard to colour error theory.

Keywords:   scepticism, safety, sensitivity, knowledge, epistemic threat, reliabilism, externalism

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