Fallibilism, contextualism and second-order skepticism

Harper, Alexander S. (2010) Fallibilism, contextualism and second-order skepticism. Philosophical Investigations, 33 4: 339-359. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9205.2010.01417.x

Author Harper, Alexander S.
Title Fallibilism, contextualism and second-order skepticism
Journal name Philosophical Investigations   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0190-0536
Publication date 2010-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9205.2010.01417.x
Volume 33
Issue 4
Start page 339
End page 359
Total pages 21
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract Fallibilism is ubiquitous in contemporary epistemology. I argue that a paradox about knowledge, generated by considerations of truth, shows that fallibilism can only deliver knowledge in lucky circumstances. Specifically, since it is possible that we are brains-in-vats (BIVs), it is possible that all our beliefs are wrong. Thus, the fallibilist can know neither whether or not we have much knowledge about the world nor whether or not we know any specific proposition, and so the warrant of our knowledge-claims is much reduced and second-order skepticism is generated. Since this is the case in both skeptical and everyday contexts, contextualism cannot resolve the paradox. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Keyword Fallibilism
Second-order skepticism
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 26 Sep 2010, 00:01:10 EST