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Why does empiricism lead to skepticism?


Empiricism says that you know it only if you have direct, observational evidence of it.

You only have direct observational evidence of your own states of consciousness, not of the external realities that are presumably responsible for them.

In order to validate the inference from ‘I am having the kinds of visual experiences that would be veridical if a dog were present’ to ‘a dog is present’, one must make use of rules of inference that, precisely because they take one beyond what is immediately present to observational awareness, cannot themselves have a strictly observational warrant.

Consequently, strict adherence to empiricism collapses into the doctrine that nothing lying beyond our experiences can reasonably be posited.


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