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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 115, Issue 12, December 2018

David J. Chalmers
Pages 625-660
DOI: 10.5840/jphil20181151238

Structuralism as a Response to Skepticism

Cartesian arguments for global skepticism about the external world start from the premise that we cannot know that we are not in a Cartesian scenario such as an evil-demon scenario, and infer that because most of our empirical beliefs are false in such a scenario, these beliefs do not constitute knowledge. Veridicalist responses to global skepticism respond that arguments fail because in Cartesian scenarios, many or most of our empirical beliefs are true. Some veridicalist responses (suggested by Bouswma, Putnam, and Davidson) have been motivated using verificationism, externalism, and coherentism. I argue that a more powerful veridicalist response to global skepticism can be motivated by structuralism, on which physical entities are understood as those that play a certain structural role. I develop the structuralist response and address objections.