Hinge Propositions, Skeptical Dogmatism, and External World Disjunctivism

In: International Journal for the Study of Skepticism
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  • 1 New Mexico State University

Following Wittgenstein’s lead, Crispin Wright and others have argued that hinge propositions are immune from skeptical doubt. In particular, the entitlement strategy, as we shall refer to it, says that hinge propositions have a special type of justification (entitlement justification) because of their role in our cognitive lives. Two major criticisms are raised here against the entitlement strategy when used in attempts to justify belief in the external world. First, the hinge strategy is not sufficient to thwart underdetermination skepticism, since underdetermination considerations lead to a much stronger form of skepticism than is commonly realized. Second, the claim that hinge propositions are necessary to trust perception is false. There is an alternative to endorsing a particular hinge proposition about the external world, external world disjunctivism, which permits us to trust perception (to a point), while skirting the difficulties raised by skepticism.

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