International Journal for the Study of Skepticism, 3, (3), . (doi:10.1163/22105700-02021082).
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In a series of recent articles, Duncan Pritchard argues for a ‘neo-Moorean’ interpretation of John McDowell’s anti-sceptical strategy. Pritchard introduces a distinction between ‘favouring’ and ‘discriminating’ epistemic grounds in order to show that within the radical sceptical context an absence of ‘discriminating’ epistemic grounds allowing one to distinguish brain-in-a-vat from non-brain-in-a-vat scenarios does not preclude possessing knowledge of the denials of sceptical hypotheses. I argue that Pritchard’s reading is mistaken for three reasons. First, the distinction between ‘favouring’ and ‘discriminating’ epistemic grounds only works for ‘mules-disguised-as zebras’ examples, but breaks down in the radical sceptical case. Second, McDowellian disjunctivism neutralizes the radical sceptical threat, but does not refute it. Third, any attempt to refute scepticism is confronted by the following dilemma: either one accepts the ‘highest common factor’ conception of perceptual experience thus rendering radical scepticism in principle irrefutable, or one discards it in favour of the disjunctive conception, but then there is no radical sceptical scenario left to refute. So, whichever horn of this dilemma Pritchard grasps, refutation is either impossible or superfluous.
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