Undestand the Externalist to Sceptics?

Jan Palkoska

The article assesses an influential line of criticism against the so-called "externalist“ strategies in dealing with the so-called "perceptual skepticism“. The criticism in question hinges on the claim that the "externalists“ somehow systematically miss the point of the skeptical worries, the failure being due to their treating knowledge independently of the epistemic attribute of justification. In the first section I introduce an argument in support of the "perceptual skepticism“ and I outline two representative "externalist“ attempts at refuting it (R. Nozick, E. Sosa). In the second section I argue that the criticism in question cannot be maintained in so far as it suggests that the "externalists“ unduly change the subject of the skeptical argument. On the other hand, I show it correct to hold that the "externalists“ can offer at most a partial response to perceptual skepticism par excellence. The chief point of my argument is to view the skeptical worry at issue as merely an abstract position of a purely theoretical import.