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Epistemology and Skepticism Essay

* Epistemology and Skepticism: How does The Matrix illustrate the challenge of skepticism about the external world? Explain, discuss, and critically evaluate the hallucination argument for complete epistemological skepticism. Be sure your essay includes a discussion of either Hospers’ or Crumley II’s criticism of complete epistemological skepticism. Is complete epistemological skepticism a logically coherent theory? Support your answer with a well-reasoned argument free of any major errors of fact, fallacy or logical contradiction. I. Introduction * The matrix questions the nature of reality.

* How can we know for certain that the world is how we perceive it and not just a veil over our eyes? * Explain movie- trapped in virtual world believing they are in 21st century * Explanation proposes question, what is real? II. Main Points. * Main Character Morpheus: “What is ‘real’? How do you define ‘real’? If real is simply what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. ” * Consequently, “How can we be sure our brain isn’t being tricked by some simulation to believe things are real, when they aren’t?

This is how matrix proposes the challenge of epistemological skepticism. * Hallucination argument: Modus Tollens, question soundness (valid) 1. If we posses knowledge (K) we must be able to rule out the possibility of systematic hallucination (S). K > S 2. ~S (the matrix hypothesis. ) (MT 1) 3. ~ K ( MT 1 & 2) * One arguer against skepticism: John Hospers * Merely verbal * Skeptics take strong sense of the word knowledge, must have proof at all times * Others use weak sense, meaning we only need proof or evidence only when someone is proving otherwise. * Doubt is an empty word.

* Basic point: once a test has been done to remove doubt we have a good reason to believe it is true, thus we have knowledge. III. Conclusion * Skeptics believe knowledge is unobtainable, in this case the hallucination argument proves the premises are true through Modus Tollens. Although the argument is sound, it is self-defeating because skeptics believe they know that they don’t really “know” anything. Moreover, complete epistemological skepticism is not a logically coherent view because the argument being claimed would require the person to have knowledge to conduct such argument.


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