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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Volume 73, Issue 3, November 2006

Theodore J. Everett
Pages 505-536

Antiskeptical Conditionals

Empirical knowledge exists in the form of antiskeptical conditionals, which are propositions like [if I am not undetectably deceived, then I am holding a pen]. Such conditionals, despite their trivial appearance, have the same essential content as the categorical propositions that we usually discuss, and can serve the same functions in science and practical reasoning. This paper sketches out two versions of a general response to skepticism that employs these conditionals. The first says that our ordinary knowledge attributions can safely be replaced by statements using antiskeptical conditionals, which provides a way around the standard sort of skeptical argument while accepting its soundness with respect to the usual targets. The second analyzes the objects of our ordinary knowledge attributions as antiskeptical conditionals, which allows us to refute, not just evade, the skeptic's argument. Both versions compare favorably to the best-known current approaches to skepticism, including semantic contextualism.

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