Philosophia https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-018-9982-9 Peter Marton Received: 31 October 2017 /Accepted: 6 May 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018 Abstract Dogmatists often exploit the skeptical argument based on the brains-in-a-vat (BIV) scenario as a test case for their epistemological enterprises. I argue that this ‘argument’ does not deserve our attention, so it should not be used as a test case. I first show that the possibilities of empirical knowledge and of skeptical scenarios are inconsistent (the Inconsistency Thesis). If so, the BIV-skeptic must make the case for preferring such scenarios over the possibility of empirical knowledge. The central argument of my paper is that the BIV-skeptic can neither rely on any selection principle (e.g. conceivability) for this purpose, nor can she claim that she needs no such principle. Then I will show that we can even dispense with the Inconsistency Thesis: if the skeptic wishes, she may allow for the possibility of empirical knowledge. The essay concludes with considering the morals of the above argument for the dogmatist (or simply, epistemological) endeavor. . . Keywords Cartesian skepticism Brains-in-a-vat scenario Possibility of empirical . . knowledge Conceivability Selection principles 1 Introduction We all know the skeptic’s game: she
Philosophia – Springer Journals
Published: May 28, 2018
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