Cartesian Phenomenal conservatism: a satisfactory response to radical skepticism

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Publication Type honors thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department Philosophy
Faculty Mentor Lex Newman
Creator Jensen, Ross
Title Cartesian Phenomenal conservatism: a satisfactory response to radical skepticism
Year graduated 2016
Description In this paper, I defend an epistemological thesis known as phenomenal conservatism. As introduced by Michael Huemer, phenomenal conservatism states: if it seems to S that p [where the variables S and P represent any subject and any proposition, respectively], then, in the absence of defeaters, S thereby has at least some degree of justification for believing that p. Roughly, this simply means that, in the absence of positive evidence to the contrary, we have at least some reason to believe that whatever seems to be the case really is the case. After providing an account of phenomenal conservatism, along with a characterization of seemings as suigeneris representational mental states, I review a handful of objections to phenomenal conservatism, and I conclude that one objection in particular-namely, what I call the No Grounds Objection -does pose a serious problem for phenomenal conservatism. In responding to the No Grounds Objection, I defend phenomenal conservatism by appealing to relevant etaepistemological insights from Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy in order to argue that any reflective rejection of phenomenal conservatism will inevitably lead to self-defeat. I conclude that we have no choice but to accept phenomenal conservatism.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Phenomenal conservatism; Meditations on First Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Ross Jensen
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 25,085 bytes
Identifier honors/id/44
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ARK ark:/87278/s6wx0sxh
Setname ir_htoa
Date Created 2016-06-27
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 205696
Reference URL