, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 249-261

Skepticism, relevant alternatives, and deductive closure

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Summary

My view is that the relevant alternative position should be conceived of as in two parts:

  1. With respect to many propositions, to establish a knowledge claim is to be able to support it as opposed to a limited number of alternatives — i.e., only those which are relevant in the context.

  2. With respect to many propositions — in particular those which are such that their negations are not relevant alternatives in the context in question — we simply know them to be true and do not need evidence, in the normal sense, that they, rather than their negations, are true. So conceived, the relevant alternative view neither supports the abandonment of deductive closure, nor is such abandonment in any way needed to provide the relevant alternative view with an answer to the skeptic, insofar as he can be answered.