Analyzing The Philosophies Of Roderick Chisholm

964 words - 4 pages

Philosophy Paper 2 (Chisholm)
Chisholm begins the paper by addressing the importance of skepticism by stating “'The problem of the criterion' seems to me to be one of the most difficult of all the problems of philosophy” (Chisholm, 77). He attempts to split viewpoints of the criterion into three parts, methodism, particularism, and skepticism. Chisholm's arguments against skepticism and defense of particularism are faulty because of the breaches in his reasoning.
With a healthy common sense, Chisholm states that one will find issues with both extremes of skepticism, where we have an incredibly vast amount of knowledge or no insight at all. He rejects skeptics who like to say that people have no knowledge to what the world really is like and states that, “People tend to become skeptics, temporarily, after reading books on popular science...” (Chisholm, 77) which truly shows his distaste for skepticism and brings up the question of how to decide on what we know is authentic articles of knowledge. Chisholm's criteria for distinguishing knowledge (borrowed from Mercier) states that knowledge should be internal, in which we should be able to use it ourselves without relying on another's judgment. The other two criteria are that it should be objective (not merely a feeling) as well as immediate (presented as self-evident).
Chisholm continues by contrasting particularists, methodists and skeptics, with each of these having a different answer to the following pairs of questions:
A) “What do we know? What is the extent of our knowledge?
B) “How are we to decide whether we know? What are the criteria of knowledge?”
A particularist brings up what we know and derives the criteria from that (by answering part A they may find an answer to B). A methodist questions the criteria of our knowledge than applies it to what they know (by using answer B to derive the answer to A). Finally, the skeptic denies that we have any knowledge. A skeptic would say that you cannot answer question A without question B and vice versa. Therefore you cannot answer either question. Chisholm suggests that the first possibility is the most reasonable by bringing up that there are things that we know to be true, like our feelings, thoughts, and senses. For example, if one reports to you what their senses are experiencing, what they see, hear, feel, chances are that they are correct (though sometimes they are deceptive). With these experiences, one may forge criteria to find truth in our knowledge. He ends on the note that the problem with the criterion by begs the question and that in favor of the particularist scope, we do know things after all.
Chisholm's argument denies (and even goes as far as to ridicule) skepticism and those who believe that we have a ample of amount of what is attested to be knowledge but is not. Critics would argue that Chisholm's “The Problem Of the Criterion” isn't conclusive, because a mere strong presumption would turn into strict...

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