SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Epistemological Dogmatism and the Problem of The Criterion
(Epistemology, English)

In this presentation I offer a critique of epistemological Dogmatism and its anti-sceptical credentials, by investigating its handling of the sceptical Problem of the Criterion. Dogmatism is the neo-Moorean position defended by James Pryor, Michael Huemer, Brit Brogaard and others which holds that we have prima facie defeasible justification due to the phenomenological presentation of ordinary perceptual experience. While dogmatism is usually considered as engaging scepticism mainly on the terrain of the external-world problem, by arguing that the sceptical scenario is an eminently unreasonable one, I will claim that the dialectical exchange on this Cartesian issue is fundamentally uninformative, and dogmatism's proposal actually bears on whether we can redeem our claims to have perceptual warrant in general. On this sceptical level a different threat arises from the Basic Knowledge/Easy Knowledge objection as proposed by Stewart Cohen, which concerns a more reasonable question about the possibility of settling how perceptual justification is achieved. Dogmatism allows for basic perceptual knowledge in order to avoid the so-called Problem of the Criterion and its justificatory scepticism. However, the way Dogmatism sidesteps this problem directs it within the grip of the Agrippan modes of disagreement, hypothesis, circularity and regress, following the classic Pyrrhonian dialectic. Dogmatism is committed to fall within the mode of hypothesis to defend its claim of basic perceptual justification in the face of rational disagreement about legitimate sources of knowledge, and to avoid regress. This however results in dogmatism allowing for generation of knowledge in an arbitrarily easy way. Why this Easy Knowledge result is fundamentally problematic will be shown through recourse to the related Cognitive Penetration objection devised by Susanna Siegel and Peter Markie. This objection shows that the methodology acquired by choosing the hypothetical mode commits Dogmatism to circular reasoning -- falling therefore within the mode of circularity -- leading to the collapse of dogmatism as a compelling theory of perceptual justification. Replies from the stands of dogmatism are ultimately not able to either preserve the naturalness of the position, or to tackle the Problem of the Criterion in a satisfactory way.

Chair: Wout Bisschop
Time: 14:40-15:10, 12 September 2018 (Wednesday)
Location: SR 1.004

Guido Tana 
(University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)

MA in Philosophy, University of Pavia/Freie Universität Berlin
PhD Candidate in Philosophy, University of Edinburgh: 2016-2020, Advisors: Duncan Pritchard, Modesto Gomez-Alonso
DAAD-Stipendiat 2014, Freie Universität Berlin
DAAD-Stipendiat 2019, Universität Leipzig

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