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Scepticism and Perceptual Justification$
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Dylan Dodd and Elia Zardini

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658343

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658343.001.0001

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Probability and Scepticism*

Probability and Scepticism*

Chapter:
(p.71) 4 Probability and Scepticism*
Source:
Scepticism and Perceptual Justification
Author(s):

Brian Weatherson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658343.003.0004

One way to motivate scepticism is by looking at the ways we might possibly know we aren’t brains in vats. Could we know we aren’t brains in vats a priori? Many will say no, since it is possible to be a brain in a vat. Could we know it on the basis of evidence? The chapter argues that given some commonly held assumptions, the answer is no. In particular, there is a kind of sceptical hypothesis whose probability is decreased by conditionalising on the evidence we have. Using this fact, I argue that if we want to say our knowledge that we aren’t brains in vats is a posteriori, we have to give up the view that all updating on evidence is by conditionalisation.

Keywords:   a posteriori, a priori, conditionalization, Hume, knowledge, probability, scepticism

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