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Southwest Philosophy Review

Volume 26, Issue 1, January 2010

Eric Thompson
Pages 35-42
DOI: 10.5840/swphilreview20102615

Pragmatic Invariantism and External World Skepticism

Simply stated, Pragmatic Invariantism is the view that the practical interests of a person can influence whether that person’s true belief constitutes knowledge. My primary objective in this article is to show that Pragmatic Invariantism entails external world skepticism. Toward this end, I’ll first introduce a basic version of Pragmatic Invariantism (PI). Then I’ll introduce a sample skeptical hypothesis (SK) to the framework. From this I will show that it is extremely important that the phenomenally equivalent skeptical scenarios generated by SK are actually false. We’ll then see that by combining PI and SK, the effect will be to place extremely high demands upon evidence for ~SK. It will finally be observed that, while we may have good evidence for ~SK, we do not have extremely strong evidence sufficient for establishing ~SK. This supports my conclusion that any standard version of Pragmatic Invariantism ultimately entails external world skepticism. If successful, my conclusion will critically undermine the current view that Pragmatic Invariantism is actually a skeptically resistant position.

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