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Paul Grobstein's picture

agnosticism vs atheism

I think you actually pretty much solved your problem yourself with your thought about commas, but let's walk through it slowly ...

"to claim that there is no reality independent of us (metaphysical anti-realism), we must must first suppose "to some extent" that we have the ability to know an independent reality (epistemological realism)"

If we can't see "independent reality" then we can't know what its character is, including whether it exists or not. To be certain of the non-existence of independent reality (metaphysical anti-realism) is to assert that one has the tools to determine the character of reality (epistemological realism), which is turn affirms an independent reality. Asserting the combination of metaphysical anti-realism and epistemological realism creates a logical contradiction (which one may or may not be disturbed by, depending on one's feelings about logical contradictions).

"Suppose there is no independent reality. That is, reality is dependent on us. I do not see why this means we must first be able to know an independent reality."

You're right. It doesn't. The difference here is "Suppose that ...", ie the lack of any assertions. We don't need any "independent reality" for there to be no "independent reality". We do need a way to assess independent realityin order to assert that there is no independent reality.

"I guess that there should not be commas separating the clause "if it is to be believed with any confidence and justification" ... he means that in order to really believe that there is no reality independent of us that we must be able to know what an independent reality "looks like", "is""

Yep. "to really believe" is to make an assertion.

"How could you believe that you can know something that you in the first place believe does not exist? I don't see how this belief is less "blind" than the "blind" (i.e. "unjustified" as Kosso says) belief in metaphysical antirealism."

I'm with you, I think. Both metaphysical realism and metaphysical anti-realism are "blind", in the sense of lacking definitive justification. But that is, of course, different from "believable". One may "believe" in either of them, for any of a variety of reasons that don't depend on definitive justification. Or one may elect to "believe" in neither of them (see The Perils and Potentials of "I Believe").

That help?


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