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By Alan Musgrave

Do we understand whatever for definite? There are those that imagine we will (traditionally categorised the "dogmatists") and people who imagine we can't (traditionally categorised the "skeptics"). the idea of data, or epistemology, is the good debate among the 2. This booklet is an introductory and historically-based survey of the talk. It facets for the main half with the skeptics. It additionally develops out of skepticism a 3rd view, fallibilism or serious rationalism, which contains an uncompromising realism approximately notion, technology, and the character of fact.

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Extra info for Common Sense, Science and Scepticism: A Historical Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge

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But perhaps other animals can sense things that we cannot. (I am told that one of the Beatles records ends with a tune for dogs, so high-pitched that humans cannot hear it. ) We confidently assume, too, that what our senses tell us about exists in the world. But people have hallucinations, and see things that are not there at all. Can we ever be sure that we are not hallucinating on any particular occasion? Also things appear very differently to us in our dreams from the way they do in waking life.

If he proves it by appealing to normal experiences, he argues in a circle. If he proves it by appealing to some other reason, then we will ask him to prove this other reason in turn, and we are off on an infinite regress. (Here something like the old infinite regress argument turns up again. It will recur again and again in sceptical thought. In its most general form it is used to demonstrate the impossibility of a criterion of truth: see below, pp. ) Third, Sextus argues that even if we accept Aristotle's criterion without proof, we have to apply it to particular cases of perception.

This will be our next topic. Francis Bacon was a statesman before he was a philosopher, and he rose to be Lord Chancellor of England under King James I. He was dismissed from this position for taking bribes in connection with legal cases which he had to judge. His defence against the charge was interesting: he admitted taking the bribes, but insisted that they had not influenced his decisions in any way! (He ought not to have accepted bribes. But, one feels, having accepted them, he ought to have been influenced by them.

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