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Skepticism and Circular Arguments

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image of International Journal for the Study of Skepticism

Perhaps the most popular and historically important way of responding to skepticism is by an appeal to non-inferential justification. A problem with this sort of response is that while it may constitute a response to skepticism, it does not constitute a response to the skeptic. At some point, the anti-skeptic must simply fall silent, resigned to the fact that his or her non-inferential justification for the belief challenged by the skeptic is not communicable. I want to point out a possible solution to this problem. I will argue that, in certain circumstances, it is possible to adduce circular arguments which are nevertheless rationally persuasive, and that the anti-skeptic may employ these arguments in lieu of simply falling silent when a non-inferentially justified belief is challenged. The almost universal assumption among philosophers that epistemically circular arguments are rationally useless is mistaken, and this fact can be utilized by the clever anti-skeptic.

Affiliations: 1: Shawnee State University,


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