Hinge Conditions: An Argument Against Skepticism

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Blake Barbour, Class of 2016


The purpose of this paper is to introduce the problem of skepticism as the Transmissibility Argument represents it, and to explore different avenues for overcoming the argument for skepticism. The fallibilist’s response to skepticism will be briefly explored, along with the skeptic’s counterargument to fallibilism. The main focus of the paper will be on Wittgenstein’s concept of hinge propositions; however, this will be supplemented by Dretske’s idea that the communication channels through which knowledge can be gained have built-in channel conditions. By the end of this paper, I will have put forth the notion that the existence of hinge conditions may be a possible solution to skepticism. 

Comments from Mentors

Blake's paper addresses some groundbreaking work by Wittgenstein on "hinge propositions." How exactly to understand Wittgenstein on hinge propositions is very important but also very controversial. Blake provides a new reading of Wittgenstein on which Wittgenstein is right and genuine knowledge is possible. His paper is perhaps the best undergraduate paper I've read in over ten years at TCU (and he wrote it in his very first philosophy course at TCU).

--Dr. William Roche 

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AddRan College of Liberal Arts