The Nature and Limits of Skeptical Criticism

In: International Journal for the Study of Skepticism
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  • 1 Scripps College

Is there something wrong with the way we form beliefs about our surroundings? Most people assume not. But there is a character, the skeptic, who disagrees. What, exactly, is this skeptic claiming, and why should this concern us? We are, after all, just humans doing what humans do: forming beliefs on the basis of our faculties. In what sense could this be wrong, and how could it matter if it is? By considering the way in which the notions of vice and criticism can express these questions, we can clarify them and discern some potential answers. These answers, I will suggest, can explain not only why we shouldn’t worry too much, but also the lasting appeal of skeptical problems. The idea is that we can accept, or grant for the sake of argument, that we fall short of some important standard while insisting that it is entirely unreasonable to criticize people, or ourselves, on that basis.

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