Sceptical Overkill: On Two Recent Arguments Against Scepticism

O'Hara, Kieron (1993) Sceptical Overkill: On Two Recent Arguments Against Scepticism. Mind, 102, (2), 315-27.


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This paper is a discussion of a recent attempt by Crispin Wright to force at least some varieties of external world scepticism to succumb to a "head-on, rational response", contrary to well-known expressions of pessimism by, for example, Sir Peter Strawson and Barry Stroud. The varieties of scepticism in question are those that involve positing a "purportedly undetectable but cognitively disabling state", such as the state imposed by Descartes' malicious demon, in which a sufferer is unable to tell whether or not his or her experiences are caused by items in his or her perceptible environment, as opposed to some disassociated cause; the argument is completed by noticing that, if such a state were possible, then no-one could have complete confidence that he or she were not in such a state. This paper argues that this lack of confidence also fatally undermines Wright's argument.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Commentary On: Wright, C. 1991: "Scepticism and Dreaming: Imploding the Demon". Mind, 100
Keywords: scepticism malicious demon dreaming maundering
Divisions : Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering > Electronics and Computer Science > Web & Internet Science
ePrint ID: 254162
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2000
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:55
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