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Are our senses reliable?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by John West View Post

    Again, I question the relevance of phenomenal conservatism to this thread. The OP presupposes that some argument against the reliability of the senses is being made. He asks whether the fact that the reliability of the senses must be assumed to argue against the reliability of the senses makes all arguments against the reliability of the senses self-refuting. It doesn't help to bring in a thesis that requires that you have no defeaters for your senses' reliability when whether or not you have (or can have) those is what's at issue in the first place. The same goes for raising phenomenal conservatism against the skeptics' arguments to the effect that we have no more reason for believing that the senses are a guide to reality than not (or, to say what amounts to the same thing in different words, that we have no more reason for believing that appearance is a guide to reality than not).
    I was just suggesting how, even if his self-defeat argument fails, phenomenal conservatism can still adequatly justify the beliefs the skeptic wants to convince us to suspend judgment about. If it seems to S that the external world exists, then it just makes no sense to suggest S can't be justified (in the internalist sense) in believing that the external world exists. And since it isn't a principle of inferential justification, it's not exactly a matter of believing that appearance is a "guide" to reality ("is it a reliable guide?" has no place here, since it seems to S that the external world objectively exists).

    the best the skeptic can do is try to weaken the force of the appearance for S, or to make it seem to S that ~p.

    needless to say, skeptics haven't been very successful with that.
    Last edited by Atno; 03-05-2019, 09:43 PM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Atno
      I am certain that the principle of non-contradiction is true, and I can likewise say it is certain that the principle of non-contradiction is true. I *know*, incorrigibly, perfectly, in a non-defeasible manner, that PNC is true.
      Of course, the proposed self-evidence of the PNC isn't the knowledge. It's at most the ground of the knowledge.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Atno
        I was just suggesting how, even if his self-defeat argument fails, phenomenal conservatism can still adequatly justify the beliefs the skeptic wants to convince us to suspend judgment about. If it seems to S that the external world exists, then it just makes no sense to suggest S can't be justified (in the internalist sense) in believing that the external world exists. And since it isn't a principle of inferential justification, it's not exactly a matter of believing that appearance is a "guide" to reality ("is it a reliable guide?" has no place here, since it seems to S that the external world objectively exists).

        the best the skeptic can do is try to weaken the force of the appearance for S, or to make it seem to S that ~p.

        needless to say, skeptics haven't been very successful with that.
        Well, we don't have to descend into the dialectics here (or replay the earlier Aenesideman points) nor do I have any desire to do so. For our purposes, it's enough to point out that the skeptic has a way to avoid the non-skeptical consequences of CL's self-defeat argument and that CL has to descend into the dialectics to defeat the skeptic.
        Last edited by John West; 03-05-2019, 10:23 PM.

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