Peter Unger applies a unique approach to skepticism. In his essay, An Argument for Skepticism, he endorses the concept by insisting that if one is not a skeptic, he/she must be (more or less) dogmatic. The way in which he supports this is by attempting to prove that nobody ever knows anything--because if one claims that he/she knows something, he/she is indirectly supposing that it is perfectly all right (Unger 43) to be certain of it. However, I will argue that Unger's definition of certaintyhis idea that certainty is more or less a dogmatic attitudeis not accurate; so that one may be certain without being dogmatic.
[...] Unger's Views on Skepticism and Certainty Peter Unger applies a unique approach to skepticism. In his essay, Argument for Skepticism”, he endorses the concept by insisting that if one is not a skeptic, he/she must be (more or less) dogmatic. The way in which he supports this is by attempting to prove that nobody ever knows anything-- because if one claims that he/she knows something, he/she is indirectly supposing that it is “perfectly all right” (Unger 43) to be certain of it. [...]
[...] I agree with Unger on this: that if you were to regard certainty as a sort of dogmatic attitude, it would be not all right to be certain of anything. However, I believe that one can be certain of something without being dogmatic. Take, for example, if we consider the opposite of certainty—uncertainty. If I were to say I was uncertain that I saw a duck in the pond, I am implying that I am unsure whether or not I saw a duck in the pond; perhaps even that in my mind there is a fifty-fifty or less chance that I remember seeing it. [...]
[...] For example, if Jane felt certain that she saw a duck in the pond, Unger would argue that this means, for instance: if the duck suddenly vanished into thin air, or if other people around her insisted that they did not see a duck in the pond, she would not count as contrary evidence” (Unger 45) these instances. In other words, Jane would discount these happenings as impossibilities and hold on unconditionally to her belief. Thus, the conclusion that follows—“Nobody ever knows that anything is (Unger 43) is Unger's way of saying that because knowledge provides grounds for certainty, and since certainty, as in Jane's case, is not an right” attitude, no one can know anything. [...]
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