Arguments Against Skepticism Essay

4182 Words Feb 28th, 2007 17 Pages
If I tried to simply tell a skeptic, "That rock will fall from the cliff because of gravity," he won't believe me because he will simply say, "Not necessarily." In fact, this can be the skeptic's answer to just about any attempt to refute his position.

It has long been pointed out by opponents of skepticism that such an attitude cannot be taken to its extreme conclusion in the real world in which we operate- even skeptics must live their lives according to rules they must rely upon not to fail. Skepticism (and all philosophy) cannot avoid the cumbersome nature of human language and the simple fact that the only tool humans have to investigate the nature of existence is the brain, which spawns coherent thoughts in a lingual form. In day
…show more content…
That which gives a linguistic expression meaning is absent. Thus far from a mere insult, calling an expression meaningless amounts to declaring it literally void of semantic content.
Having dealt with a superficial worry, let us turn to a more substantial one. Carnap argues that questions about the reality of the external world are meaningless. Yet can we not imagine a state of affairs in which we are systematically deceived about the external world? We can imagine (even if we think that it is false) that we are brains in vats and that the real world does not correspond to our experiences. If we can imagine this state of affairs, then how can it be meaningless? This is a much more interesting worry and in trying to understand Carnap's response to it, I think that his position comes into sharper focus." ****
"In a charming example, Carnap imagines two geographers--a realist and an idealist--who travel to Africa to investigate claims about an unusual mountain. When they find the mountain and take measurements, they agree on all the physical characteristics. However, after recording information about position, shape, height, etc., they disagree about how to interpret the empirical results.
Then the realist says: ``this mountain, which the two of us have found, not only has the

Related Documents