Compatibilist Solutions to Skepticism

By Jill Rusin.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Epistemic contextualists can be thought of as the compatibilists of their field. They allow both the skeptic and the dogmatic man on the street to be right. I argue that compatibilist solutions to skepticism do not have the explanatory
virtues that would be their primary recommendation. Following Barry Stroud, I agree that a successful solution to skepticism would meet a dual explanatory burden: the anti-skeptic must explain why we are not forced to accept skeptical conclusions, are not in some dark epistemic predicament. But she must also explain how it might ever have seemed that we were so forced, or so placed. Contextualists take on this two-sided explanatory task. However, their compatibilist solution relies on a descriptive semantic project that proves inadequate to respond to the normative difficulties offered up by the skeptic. Their non-normative strategy founders on a significant problem for epistemic agency.

Keywords: Philosophy, Epistemology, Skepticism, Contextualism

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 12, pp.137-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 678.808KB).

Dr. Jill Rusin

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

My central area of research is within epistemology but draws from and engages with work in philosophy of language, action theory, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and feminist theory. I have particular interest in skepticism. My current work is on epistemic agency.


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