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Posts Tagged ‘michael frede’

The Fallibilists

In fallibilism, fideism on 20/06/2011 at 9:26 am

If the argument from the criterion is correct, the fideist ought to suspend judgment on his dogmatic philosophical beliefs, along with his ordinary beliefs, for the argument applies equally to both.

Since the skeptic wants to see whether his opponent at least by his own standards or canons has knowledge, he in his own arguments adheres to these standards. But this does not mean that he himself is committed to them. He is aware of the fact, e.g., that ordinarily we do not operate by these [the dogmatic] standards and that it is because his opponents want more than we ordinarily have that they try to subject themselves to these stricter canons; they want “real” knowledge, certain knowledge. (Michael Frede, The Skeptic’s Beliefs (1987), p. 204)

Thus, the fideist ought to withhold assent on all subjects; and yet, the argument has no implications for what the fallibilist ought or ought not to believe, except for that the fallibilist ought to believe nothing if he were a fideist.

But of course, the fallibilist is not a fideist: no part of the fallibilist’s position assumes that judgments may only be made on the basis of a criterion of truth.

And yet, if true, fallibilism cannot be warrantly asserted to be true. What of it, when fallibilism denies that very possibility? If it were false, then welcome criticism that unveils its weakness.

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