Brains, Persons, and Society *** ABSTRACTS
Cervelli, Persone e Società ***ABSTRACTS
Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Università di Modena
Here is a hand
(II) If there is a hand here, there is an external world
(III) There is an external world
the first part of the paper I consider the contemporary debate,
triggered by Crispin Wright and further fostered by Jim Pryor. I
conclude that Pryor
hasn’t given us any reasons to believe, against Wright, that
In the second part of the paper I develop the details of this third view. Firstly, I distinguish it from externalist proposals that would claim that the truth of (III) allows us to take our sense experience as a warrant for (I) and maintain that no such externalist construal would do as a response to the skeptic’s second-order challenge of claiming a warrant for our ordinary empirical propositions such as (I).
Secondly, I distinguish the third view from so-called “naturalist” proposals in epistemology, such as Strawson’s reading of Wittgenstein’s remarks in On certainty. I argue that it would be no response to a skeptic, but, in effect, an endorsement of his view, to say that it is part of our “nature” or “form of life” to take certain things for granted, such as the existence of an external world, although we have no rational ground to do so.
Finally, I distinguish it from Wright’s more recent proposals regarding what he calls “entitlement” – that is, the idea that although we may have no evidential ground in favor of (III), we would still have a non-evidential one, suitably redeemed by means of philosophical arguments. In particular, I stress the fact that, contrary to Wright’s proposal, the third view does not require any kind of warrant, evidential or otherwise, for taking (III) for granted.
I then take up the issue of how
such a third
view can indeed confront the skeptical challenge. I argue that the
skeptic’s challenge is indeed a second-order one. That is, a challenge
to claim that taking (III) for
granted, although itself done without any kind of warrant, is rational
nonetheless. Then I maintain that a suggestive direction – no doubt
development – in order to show how one can claim the rationality of
acceptance, despite its being groundless, is to exploit the following
as it is perfectly rational to accept the rules of a game one wants, or
to play, despite the fact that one has no warrant for them – for
them as somehow correct –, so it can be equally rational to accept the
presuppositions of our most basic empirical practices if we are to
engage in them. In particular, it can be rational to accept the
presupposition of our
language game of asking, giving and assessing reasons for and against
empirical beliefs, if we are to engage in it. According to the third
view (III) is
such a presupposition for, unless it is accepted, no empirical warrant
any empirical proposition could ever be acquired. So, trusting it is, for those who want or need to participate in the basic “game” of confirming or disconfirming empirical information, rational after all, although unsupported by warrant, evidential or otherwise.
conclude by arguing that
according to the third view,
to its conclusion, for which the proof itself should provide a warrant.