Synthese

, Volume 183, Issue 2, pp 175–185 | Cite as

An old problem for the new rationalism

Article

Abstract

A well known skeptical paradox rests on the claim that we lack warrant to believe that we are not brains in a vat (BIVs). The argument for that claim is the apparent impossibility of any evidence or argument that we are not BIVs. Many contemporary philosophers resist this argument by insisting that we have a sort of warrant for believing that we are not BIVs that does not require having any evidence or argument. I call this view ‘New Rationalism’. I argue that New Rationalists are committed to there being some evidence or argument for believing that we are not BIVs anyway. Therefore, New Rationalism, since its appeal is that it purportedly avoids the problematic commitment to such evidence or argument, undermines its own appeal. We cannot avoid the difficult work of coming up with evidence or argument by positing some permissive sort of warrant.

Keywords

Epistemology Skepticism Warrant 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alston W. P. (1993) The reliability of sense perception. Cornell University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Bergmann M. (2004) Epistemic circularity: Malignant and benign. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69: 709–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bonjour, L. (2005). In: E. Sosa & M. Steup (Eds.), Contemporary debates in epistemology (Chapter 5). Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen S. (2000) Contextualism and skepticism. Philosophical Issues, (Skepticism) 10: 94–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Davis M. (2003) The problem of armchair knowledge. In: Nuccetelli S. (eds) New essays on semantic externalism and self-knowledge. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 23–55Google Scholar
  6. Garrett D. (2007) Reasons to act and reasons to believe: Naturalism and rational justification in Hume’s philosophical project. Philosophical Studies 132(1): 1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jackson F. (1977) Perception: A representative theory. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  8. Markie P. (2005) Easy knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70(2): 406–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. McDowell, J. (2008). 16. The disjunctive conception of experience as material for a transcendental argument. In A. Haddock & F. Macpherson (Eds.), Disjunctivism: Perception, action, knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Moore G. E. (1939) Proof of an external world. Proceedings of the British Academy 25: 273–300Google Scholar
  11. Peacocke C. (2004) The realm of reason. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Plantinga A. (1993) Warrant: The current debate. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Pryor J. (2004) What’s wrong with Moore’s argument? Philosophical Issues (Epistemology) 14(1): 349–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Russell B. (1997) The problems of philosophy. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. Vogel J. (1990) Cartesian skepticism and inference to the best explanation. Journal of Philosophy 87: 658–666Google Scholar
  16. White R. (2006) Problems for dogmatism. Philosophical Studies 131(3): 525–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wright C. (2004) Warrant for nothing (and foundations for free)?  Aristotelian Society Supplement 78(1): 167–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wright C. (2007) The perils of dogmatism. In: Nuccetelli S., Seay G. (eds) Themes from G. E. Moore: New essays in epistemology and ethics. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scripps CollegeClaremontUSA

Personalised recommendations