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Once More Unto the Breach: Strawson's Anti-Sceptical View

Author(s): Marco Antonio Franciotti

Journal: Principia : an International Journal of Epistemology
ISSN 1414-4247

Volume: 13;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 137;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Scepticism | certainty | knowledge | proof | realism

In this article, I am intent on rehabilitating Strawson’s overall anti-sceptical strategy. First, I focus on his earlier attempt, which ignited the debate about the adequacy of transcendental arguments against the sceptic. I present Stroud’s main reservation that Strawson’s viewpoint is unworkable because it does not take into consideration the view of the external world upon which the sceptic is based in order to challenge our knowledge claims. I then focus on Strawson’s later attempt, which is based upon a Humean-like naturalistic strategy. I show that his naturalism is intractable for two reasons: first because it reproduces the proof structure of transcendental arguments and ends up employing a rational proof to counter rational proofs; and second, because it matches the sceptic’s advice that we should live according to our natural inclinations without ever trying to justify our beliefs. In the last section, I claim that it is possible to rehabilitate transcendental arguments as sound anti-sceptical proofs if we argue for the senselessness of the idea of thing in itself completely apart from our powers of conceptualisation.
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