Documents

Ratio Scepticism

Description
ewr edf awd
Categories
Published
of 17
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
Share
Transcript
  SCEPTICISM ABOUT PHILOSOPHY  Jason Brennan Abstract  Suppose a person who is agnostic about most phiosophica issues wishes to ha!e true phiosophica beie s but e#ua$ wishes to a!oi% ase phiosophica beie s& I argue that this truth'see(ing) error'a!oi%ing agnostic wou% not ha!e goo% groun%s or pursuing phiosoph$& *i%esprea% %isagreement shows that pursuing  phiosoph$ is not a reiabe metho% o %isco!ering true answers to phiosophica #uestions& More i(e$ than not) pursuing phiosoph$ ea%s to ase beie & Man$ attempts to rebut this sceptica argument ai& 1. Insider and Outsider Scepticism about Philosophy Phiosophers %isagree immense$ in signi icant wa$s& Our best phiosophers %isagree o!er the %octrines) metho%s) an% e!en the aims o phiosoph$& E+perts in a ie%s %isagree) but %isagreement is more per!asi!e in phiosoph$ than in most other ie%s& As Thomas ,e$ sa$s) -Phiosoph$ is notabe or the e+tent to which %isagreements with respect to e!en those most basic #uestions persist among its most abe practitioners) %espite the act that the arguments thought ree!ant to the %ispute% #uestions are t$pica$we'(nown to a parties to the %ispute&. /  A sceptic might caim that ra%ica %issensus shows that pursuing phiosoph$ is nota goo% means or %isco!ering true answers or phiosophica #uestions& 0issensus shows that phiosophica metho%s are unreiabe instruments o truth& Suppose an uncommitte%  person comes to phiosoph$ hoping to get true answers to her phiosophica #uestions& She wants to (now what that nature o causation is) what 1usti ication is) what rightness consists in) what 1ustice is) an% so on& She notices that phiosophers ha!e e+tensi!e %isagreement about the answers to these #uestions an% thus concu%es that the probabiit$o her getting the true answer b$ pursuing phiosoph$ is ow& So) she becomes a sceptic 1  Thomas ,e$) -The Epistemic Signi icance o 0isagreement.) in 2ohn Hawthorne an% Tamar 3en%er) e%s&) Oxford Studies in Epistemology  4O+ or%5 O+ or% Uni!ersit$ Press) 67789) p& /:;& 1  about the ie% o phiosoph$ an% wa(s awa$ with her #uestions unanswere%& Is she ma(ing a mista(e<In this paper) I consi%er scepticism o the sort that ho%s that there are true answers to phiosophica #uestions) but none o us are in a goo% position to (now these answers& This t$pe o scepticism a%mits o two sub't$pes& /9 An insider sceptic  ho%s that e!en the best phiosophers ac( goo% reasons to ho% their !iews& So) the insi%er sceptic thin(s that phiosophers who are not agnostic about phiosophica issues shou%  become agnostic& 69 A person who is mere$ an outsider sceptic ) on the other han%) might accept that man$ phiosophers are 1usti ie% in ho%ing their !iews) %espite wi%esprea% %isagreement& The outsi%er sceptic nee% not ho% that phiosophers shou% change their beie s or become agnostic& Howe!er) the outsi%er sceptic aso ho%s that  peope not area%$ committe% to one phiosophica position or another shou% sta$ uncommitte%& So) the outsi%er sceptic ho%s that e!en i most phiosophers are 1usti ie% in accepting their %i erent !iews) a person who ac(s phiosophica beie s ought to re rain rom using phiosophica metho%oog$ an% instea% shou% remain agnostic&Suppose an uncommitte% person) one who is current$ agnostic about basic  phiosophica #uestions) wishes to %isco!er the true answers to these phiosophica #uestions& She is aso e#ua$ concerne% to a!oi% ase answers& She is thus wiing to stop being agnostic an% come to beie!e a %octrine pro!i%e% she %oes so !ia a reiabe metho%& =or her) a reiabe metho% is one that is at east more i(e$ than not to gi!e her true beie s& I these are her goas) it is %i icut to show that phiosoph$ as we %o it wou% be worth %oing& She might as we remain agnostic& This is not to sa$ that we  phiosophers must gi!e up our %octrines an% become agnostics ourse!es) but mere$ that a truth'see(ing) error'a!oi%ing agnostic %oes not ha!e goo% reason to pursue phiosoph$ in the attempt to %isco!er the truth about phiosophica #uestions& This paper argues that the presence o wi%esprea% %issensus ma(es it %i icut to %e en% phiosoph$ rom outsi%er scepticism) i not insi%er scepticism&There are man$ reasons wh$ phiosoph$ is worth %oing& Yet) it wou% be %isturbing i we cannot show the agnostic that phiosoph$ gets her the right t$pe o !aue >true answers to phiosophica #uestions& 2  2. The Argument against Philosophy 0issensus can be use% in an argument against phiosoph$5 The Argument against Philosophy & The goa o phiosoph$ is to unco!er certain truths& ?a%ica %issensus shows that phiosophica metho%s are imprecise an% inaccurate& Phiosoph$ continua$ ea%s e+perts with the highest %egree o epistemic !irtue) %oing the !er$ best the$ can) to accept a wi%e arra$ o incompatibe %octrines& There ore) phiosoph$ is an unreliable instrument or in%ing truth& A person who enters the ie% is high$ uni(e$ to arri!e at true answers to phiosophica #uestions&This is a rough s(etch o the argument& I wi re ine it as necessar$ as the paper procee%s& @ote that Argument against Phiosoph$ nee% not caim that no phiosopher has oun% the truth& It is possibe that ,ant got e!er$thing right& Yet) phiosoph$ aso has arri!e% at hun%re%s o other incompatibe %octrines& I phiosoph$ ea%s to the truth) it is on$  because it ea%s amost e!er$where&A person concerne% on$ to get the truth wou% at the !er$ east tr$ to beie!e some ran%om$ chosen %octrine rather than be agnostic) since there is at east some  possibiit$ that a ran%om %octrine happens to be correct& She might e!en pursue  phiosophica metho%s i the$ increase the probabiit$ o being correct) as it is possibe the$ %o& Perhaps phiosophers are twice as i(e$ to ha!e true answers to phiosophica #uestions than non'phiosophers are& Howe!er) i this same person is e#ua$ concerne% to a!oi% ase beie s about phiosophica issues) then she wou% want to pursue  phiosoph$ on$ i it ga!e her a greater than 7 chance o getting a true beie & 3i!en the %egree o %issensus in most ie%s o phiosoph$) it seems uni(e$ that phiosoph$ o ers her this great a chance&Here is an anaog$& Suppose) thousan%s o peope) each o whom wants to go to So Pauo) ran%om$ boar% a ights %eparting 0aas'=ort *orth& Suppose the$ i a %eparting seats) but are not to% where the$ are going& O these thousan%s) a ew hun%re%in act wi an% in So Pauo& Most wi arri!e somewhere ese& Phiosoph$ seems i(e this in man$ respects& It ma$ bring some peope to the proper %estination) but it %umps most somewhere ese& Actua$) matters are worse than that& Tra!eers wi (now whether the$ ha!e arri!e% in So Pauo& In phiosoph$Ds case) some ma$ in%ee% arri!e at 3  truth& Howe!er) the$ wi not ha!e %iscernib$ better groun%s or beie!ing this than their mista(en peers& The$ ma$ beie!e themse!es to ha!e better groun%s) an% their peers  beie!e this about themse!es as we& Howe!er) rom the outsi%er.s perspecti!e) the$ oo( the same& The$ are smart peope %oing the best the$ can) an% the$ %isagree& The outsi%er has itte reason to thin( one phiosopher is coser to the truth than the ne+t) an% itte reason to thin( that i she became a phiosopher) she wou% %o an$ better&Here is another wa$ o ma(ing the unreiabiit$ argument& Suppose that there are /7 competing %octrines in the ie% o phiosoph$ o min%) each o which is accepte% b$ /7 percent o the members o the American Phiosophica Association& Suppose) optimistica$) that on the nature o consciousness /7 percent o the members o the APA ha!e the right theor$& Suppose aso that we can regar% a members o the APA as epistemic peers) where two peope are epistemic peers 1ust in case the$ are e#uas with respect to their %egree o epistemic !irtue 4thought uness) ree%om rom bias) etc&9 an% their access to e!i%ence& 6  An uncommitte% person) oo(ing at the ie% rom the outsi%e) wou% worr$ that i she pursues phiosoph$) she wi ha!e something i(e a / in /7 chanceo getting the right answer to the #uestions o the phiosoph$ o min%& She sees that  phiosophica metho%oog$>stu%$ing arguments) ma(ing new arguments) creating new %istinctions) rea%ing te+ts) %ebating) etc&>genera$ ea%s peope to accept some theor$ or other o the nature o consciousness& 4Let us assume that e!er$one who stu%ies the  phiosoph$ o min% en%s up accepting / o the /7 theories&9 So) she (nows that  phiosophica metho%oog$ wi resut in her accepting some theor$) but rom her stan%point) it is more i(e$ than not that it wi be the ase theor$& The greater the %egree o %isagreement among epistemic peers) the ower the probabiit$ that  phiosophiing wi get her to the truth&This argument assumes than an agnostic outsi%er who en%s up pursuing  phiosophica metho%s wi ha!e either a ran%om or proportiona chance o accepting an$ theor$& I&e&) I am wor(ing on the assumption that she wi either accept a theor$ at ran%om or with a probabiit$ proportiona to the percentage o her epistemic peers that accept an$ gi!en theor$& ?ea peope probab$ %o not ha!e a ran%om chance %ue to their  bac(groun% starting beie s& A person who comes to phiosoph$ as a Christian is 2  ,e$) -Epistemic Signi icance o 0isagreement.) p& /7& 4
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks