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Natural Doubts: Williams's Diagnosis of Scepticism

Reid Buchanan
Synthese
Vol. 131, No. 1 (Apr., 2002), pp. 57-80
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20117234
Page Count: 24
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Natural Doubts: Williams's Diagnosis of Scepticism
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Abstract

Michael Williams believes that scepticism about the external world seems compelling only because the considerations that underpin it are thought to be "mere platitudes" about e.g., the nature and source of human knowledge, and hence, that if it shown through a "theoretical diagnosis" that it does not rest upon such platitudes, but contentious theoretical considerations that we are no means bound to accept, we can simply dismiss the absurd sceptical conclusion. Williams argues that scepticism does presuppose two extremely contentious doctrines, however, he admits that if these doctrines are themselves motivated by "platitudes" then scepticism follows. I address Williams's arguments for thinking scepticism must presuppose these doctrines, and argue that he overlooks a way that they can be seen as motivated by mere platitudes. Thus, I conclude that William's novel rejection of scepticism fails.

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