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Assess the view that knowledge is possible

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Introduction

Assess the view that knowledge is impossible Philosophical scepticism and ordinary everyday scepticism are very different. The difference between both types of scepticism is that ordinary scepticism is doubt that the train will come on time for example, whilst philosophical sceptics believe knowledge is impossible. Global scepticism is doubts everything for the purpose of an academic study this differs from ordinary scepticism due to it being on a much larger scale. The best example of a sceptic is Descarte. He was the first philosopher to think so deeply into scepticism. Descarte wrote six meditations, the first named 'Method of Doubt'. This meditation had three waves; The Senses, Dreaming and Malignant Demon. Each wave looked at a different theory of scepticism. There are many different arguments that conclude knowledge is impossible. The Infinite Regress of Reason, Closed Belief System and Brain in a Vat theory are the three examples which will be looked at, in detail, as to how they came to the conclusion that knowledge is impossible. ...read more.

Middle

The name explains what some philosophers think to be real; that our brains really are in Vats and being controlled. An example of this is in Descartes' first Meditation - in the third wave of doubt (the evil demon argument). This is one example of a sceptic's theory: A scientist in the year 2560 is sending impulses through a secretly obtained brain to give it the illusion that it is living a life and that the life is a real experience. However there are criticisms to these theories such as The Infinite Regress of Reason can be stopped by Foundationalism and therefore isn't infinite. This theory says there are things in this world that we can know for sure and all other beliefs can be built-up on top of these foundational beliefs. Beliefs that justify themselves or need no justification are foundational beliefs and these beliefs justify others. This classic reaction to the Infinite Regress is called Foundationalism. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, the existence of physical objects shouldn't be doubted even though they cannot be explicitly justified using language. Therefore the Brain in a Vat theory cannot really be genuine as it is rejected by common sense. In conclusion, the theory of scepticism, although a strong argument in the short term, when thought about more thoroughly is fundamentally flawed because the criticisms of each argument evaluated proves that there must be truth in this world for us to be able to doubt anything. Although philosophical scepticism, on some levels, can help us see what can not be proven or justified, it also helps us understand that knowledge is indeed possible and that we must all have some aspect of truths in our beliefs. For example Descarte, said: 'I think therefore I am'. This quote explains that knowledge of having a present experience is true and from this knowledge we can build up other claims (for example the claim of physical objects proven to ones' self by using senses and the common sense theory). ...read more.

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