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Undercutting Underdetermination-Based Scepticism

Ashton NA (2015) Undercutting Underdetermination-Based Scepticism. Theoria, 81 (4), pp. 333-354.

According to Duncan Pritchard, there are two kinds of radical sceptical problem; the closure-based problem, and the underdetermination-based problem. He argues that distinguishing these two problems leads to a set of desiderata for an anti-sceptical response, and that the way to meet all of these desiderata is by supplementing a form of Wittgensteinian contextualism with disjunctivist views about factivity. I agree that an adequate response should meet most of the initial desiderata Pritchard puts forward, and that some version of Wittgensteinian contextualism shows the most promise as a starting point for this, but I argue, contra Pritchard, that the addition of disjunctivism is unnecessary and potentially counter-productive. If we draw on lessons from Michael Williams's inferential contextualism then it is both possible, and preferable, to meet the most important of Pritchard's desiderata, undercutting both closure-based and underdetermination-based sceptical problems in a unified way, without the need to resort to disjunctivism

radical scepticism; inferential contextualism; underdetermination; closure; BIV;

Theoria: Volume 81, Issue 4

Author(s)Ashton, Natalie Alana
FundersUniversity of Edinburgh
Publication date31/12/2015
Publication date online24/06/2015
Date accepted by journal12/05/2015
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