Monday, May 07, 2012

Grounds for Dream Skepticism

In his famous anti-skeptical work, On Certainty, Wittgenstein wants "grounds for doubt". He wants positive reason to accept a radically skeptical hypothesis.

Trudeau obliges. The key panels:

Life going well? Implausibly well? Wake up and smell the latrine, baby!

The same reasoning might apply if things are implausibly hellish.

Such reasoning should apply especially to Wittgenstein himself. I mean, what's the prior probability of that being your life -- impoverished scion of a suicidal Austrian family of immense wealth, arguably the greatest philosopher of your day though unemployed and hardly publishing, etc.? At the time he wrote On Certainty, Wittgenstein should have thought: Surely all this is some weird dreambrain mashup of wish fulfillment and nightmare!

Philosophers at the peak of public fame should all be dream skeptics. QED.


Steven Hales said...

A proof that I should always reject dream skepticism.

Josh Shepherd said...

I often think this when watching my preferred college football team. What are the chances we'd get *those* breaks, and *those* calls?

The above thought also passes as an argument against God's existence.