What’s Wrong with Contextualism, and a Noncontextualist Resolution of the Skeptical Paradox
The intense view of these manifold contradictions and imperfections in human reason has so wrought upon me, and heated my brain, that I am ready to reject all belief and reasoning, and can look upon no opinion even as more probable or likely than another. Where am I, or what? ...;
Most fortunately it happens, that since reason is incapable of dispelling these clouds, nature herself suffices to that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melancholy and delirium, either by relaxing this bent of mind, or by some avocation, and lively impression of my senses, which obliterate all these chimeras. I dine, I play a game of back-gammon. I converse, and am merry with my friends; and when after three or four hour’s amusement, I wou’d return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strained, and ridiculous, that I cannot find in my heart to enter into them any farther (Hume, 1739, p. 268f).
There is an inconvenience which attends all abstruse reasoning, that it may silence, without convincing an antagonist, … When we leave our closet, and engage in the common affairs of life, its conclusions seem to vanish, like the phantoms of the night on the appearance of the morning (Hume, 1739, p. 455).
KeywordsSemantic Contextualism Epistemic Possibility Skeptical Argument Closure Principle Epistemic Contextualism
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