Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Philosophical Skepticism Vs Pragmatic Skepticism

We of this blog are pragmatic skeptics. We wish to disassociate ourselves from the branch of formal philosophy known as skepticism (or scepticism). A philosophical skeptic will make the argument that we cannot be sure the sun will rise tomorrow, even though it has risen like clockwork for millenia. A philosophical skeptic will make the argument that if we step off a cliff, we cannot be certain gravity will operate in the time-honoured way and precipitate us to our deaths. Speaking as a pragmatic skeptic, I would be more than happy to push any philosophical skeptic off a cliff at any time to resolve the issue.

Of course, philosophical skeptics are not nearly as stupid as solipsists. A solipsist believes that his or her reality is only a figment of his or her imagination. A resounding open-handed slap across the face is the best way for a pragmatic skeptic to challenge a solipsist's world view. Few solipsists can continue making an argument in support of their position with a stinging cheek. Particularly when there is every prospect of subsequent slaps if they do not desist.

The violent actions as set out above are in the nature of a thought experiment. I would not really take these actions. Although I would be sorely tempted in the case of the "too stupid to come in out of the rain" solipsist.

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