Philosophy Visiting Speaker Seminar: Samir Okasha

This is a past event

Prof Samir Okasha (Bristol)

‘Scepticism, Evidential Holism and the Logic of Demonic Deception’


Sceptical arguments in epistemology typically employ sceptical hypotheses, which are rivals to our everyday beliefs so constructed that they fit exactly the evidence on which those beliefs are based. There are two ways of using a sceptical hypothesis to undermine an everyday belief, giving rise to two distinct sorts of sceptical argument: underdetermination-based and closure-based. However, both sorts of argument, as usually formulated in the contemporary epistemology literature, fall foul of evidential holism, for they ignore the crucial role of background beliefs. An analogy with the philosophy of science makes this point explicit. This leads to the question of whether it is possible to "holism proof'' the sceptical arguments, and if so how. The answer turns out to be "not entirely". This has significant implications for how we should understand the challenge posed by sceptical arguments.

This talk will take place online. For more information and link to the talk, please contact Federico Luzzi:

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