Global Skeptisim Global Skepticism Analysis Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

One need only refer to the preceding example to prove this fact. In this example, glass on the floor with spilled water and the author's testimonial to what happened all add up to the fact that there a glass was broken. In this case, there is no difference between what appears as truth (that a glass has broken), and what in fact is truth (that a glass is broken). Although reasons may exist as to why such an event happened (whether or not the author was distracted or perhaps is just innately clumsy), the fact that it took place is indisputable, and demonstrates that the author is wrong about the fact that there is "always" a distinction between appearances and reality.

In all actuality, the most suitable alternative to the philosophical position propagated by the author of this particular positing is a synthesis of global skepticism with empiricism and rationalism. Although such a synthesis would appear to have inherent contradictions -- particularly in incorporating aspects of rationalism and empiricism which are frequently diametrically opposed in their viewpoints on the validation of knowledge -- a closer examination of the strengths found in each of these positions suggests that incorporating all three perspectives allows for a balanced approach to the verification of knowledge. Furthermore, the author's point-of-view regarding global skepticism is not completely disregarded or contradicted by forming such a synthesis: in fact, the reliance on a consistent questioning of the truth is an integral aspect of both rationalism and empiricism, and is largely responsible for the study of epistemology in general. Therefore, it is of course necessary to involve this aspect of global skepticism when attempting to determine the existence of any particular sort of knowledge.

However, it is also fairly essential to integrate the component of empiricism in which one's sensory perceptions are utilized in obtaining knowledge. In reference to the example of the author dropping and breaking a glass of water, it is perfectly plausible that in certain situations -- such as this one -- sensory information can certainly be utilized to ascertain knowledge about a subject. If the friend had walked in two minutes later while the author was using the restroom, for example, the friend's senses could have just as easily provided the same sort of knowledge that the a glass had broken. The sight of the shards of the glass on the floor, as well as the spilled water surrounded by them would have sufficed to provide this explanation for this occurrence even without the further corroboration of the author's testimonial that he or she was responsible for it.

Significantly, one could also utilize aspects of rationalism to deduce the same information and verify this knowledge. Someone who was not physically present at the home of the author two minutes after the glass was broken (and so could not use his or her own physical senses to perceive the "monument" or the aftermath of the broken glass) could deduce the source of this occurrence if, say, they were reading a scenario in which the facts were presented. Simply by utilizing rational logic that informed someone that at 3:03 P.M. there were 20 glasses in the author's home and that at 3:04 P.M. there were 19 glasses, several shards of glass on the floor and spilled water as well, someone could reach the conclusion that a glass (of water) had broken.

The only true contradiction, of course, is that true empiricism refuses to assent to any facts that cannot be validated by sensory perception. In keeping with the proposed synthesis of these theories of epistemology, this aspect of empiricism will not be part of the synthesis so that there is no contradiction between using rationalism and empiricism. That way, one can say that the best way of ascertaining knowledge of any particular fact is to question how it could have occurred (which is part of global skepticism), utilize the one's sensory perceptions (empiricism) and incorporate logic and reasoning (rationalism).

Works Cited

Klein, Peter, "Skepticism," the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2011), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =

Chappell, Richard, "Skepticism, Rationality and Default Trust," Philosophy, et cetera (2009), URL

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