Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Refuting the Standard View

(This is a post from Joel F that I'm moving out of the comments in order for it to get more attention. -CT)

This is something I was thinking about: For the skeptic to refute the standard view, he must do so by means of the standard view. In other words, he must use his rationality to come up with arguments against it. However, if rationality (the means of the standard view) is not a reliable source of justification, then the arguments against the standard view are themselves not justified. So, one must use a different means to refute the standard view. It does not seem possible to refute something without using rationality, thus it is impossible to refute the standard view.


Blogger Chris Tillman said...

(This is a comment from Justin. -CT)

I've never been quite sure how to respond to the fact that if your skeptic enough, you can't know skepticism, after all I don't see how it therefore must be false. That said, even if the argument is alright, you don't get the standard view out of it, because SV/Skepticism isn't as binary as you make it seem. For instance, later we'll hear an argument as to why induction based reasoning is invalid. Since alot of what's in the SV relies on induction, this is quite a skeptical argument. But notice that what we are left with isn't necessarily that we know nothing at all, so the argument won't self refute

10:31 AM  
Blogger Joel F said...

After going to the 'philosophy friday' talk I think I have become more clear on what the heart of my attempted argument was. I found that a relationship between the standard view and the skeptic (not binary, as you pointed out)is not at the heart of the argument. Rather, it is a relationship between the common sense realist and the nihilist (or full fledged philosophical skeptic). A better way of putting it might be: Imaginative counterexamples which demonstrate that intuitions (such as 1+1=2) are not a justification for knowledge, require intuition to make sense. So, these types of arguments can be subjected to refutation based on the very same reasoning which they rely on. One thing I am wondering is this: Isn't all reasoning based on intuition? Wouldnt this include any reasoning which refutes intuition as a means of knowledge?

4:47 PM  
Blogger Peter Unger said...

Joel F:

A: I don't think its impossible to refute the standard view.

B: So here is a kind of skepticism that lets us rationally believe things. I know something just in-case 1) i believe it 2)i am justified in believing it and 3) it cant possibly be false (is necessarily true). So like Chris pointed out in class, you can trick almost everybody about almost everything. It is possible i am dreaming right now. If it's possible i am dreaming right now, its possibly false that i am blogging. Its possible false that i am blogging therefore (given my definition of knowledge) i don't know i am blogging right now. Basically on this view i know very little (VERY little!).

You may say that this view is possibly false and therefore by its own lights, i don't know its the right view. That's fine, it doesn't mean the view is false. It just means that if i hold it i can believe it, not know it.

My point is this; i am a skeptic who believes people can rationally believe things (be justified in believing them) and rationally believe my own view.

Foot note: Descartes :)

9:41 PM  
Blogger Joel F said...

Peter, I agree with you that it is not impossible to refute the standard view, because you can be a skeptic of the standard view without doubting reason as a justification for knowledge (as Justin pointed out). But as I said earlier, after the philosophy talk i realized that it wasn't the 'standard view verses the skeptic' relationship that I was concerned with. It came to be those who doubt intuition (or, common sense) as a justification for knowledge which I was calling into question. An argument against the ability of intuition to be a justification for knowledge, whose meaning is based on intuition is circular. For example: 'Based on my intuitions about intuition, intuition cannot be a justification for knowledge.' It's not valid. But your right, this does not make it false that intuition is not a justification for knowledge, it just means that any intuition based reasoning used to show that that intuition is insufficient, is not valid.

8:02 PM  

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