Volume 2, Issue 2, 2011
A Puzzle for Dogmatism
I want to consider a puzzle in the realm of confirmation theory. The puzzle arises from consideration of reasoning with an argument, given certain epistemological commitments. Here is the argument (preceded by the stipulated justification for the first premise):
(JUSTIFICATION FOR 1) The table looks red.
(EK) (1) The table is red.
(2) If the table is red, then it is not white with red lights shining on it.
(3) The table is not white with red lights shining on it.
(EK) – the easy knowledge argument – has received much epistemological scrutiny of late. My aim, in this discussion note, is to set out an example, leading to the puzzle, putatively troubling for dogmatism. The puzzle takes the form of a pair of arguments which I take to be extractable from the recent work of a number of prominent epistemologists. My aim is modest: I seek not novelty, but rather merely to tie together accessibly some interesting recent work towards the formal end of epistemology which bears on cruxes at the heart of traditional epistemology.