For the Heavy Skeptic Part 2

2. Epistemic Possibility

Every person perceives the world through a faculty, or a number of them, and as is also obvious, our worldviews are based intensively from these perceptions- and when i say perceptions, I include both reason and sensuous perceptions; Perception with reason is the Mind’s eye, and perception with the senses through the eyes ears and noses. It’s also another obvious fact that there is an objective reality outside of our selves, and a subjective perception of it.

What reason do I have for believing any of it? It’s obvious that at moments we can’t trust our eyes, our ears, or our noses, but why trust them at all? Why say this laptop is actually in front of me? It could simply be a scientist stimulating my brain with his. I’ll do one better. Why trust my reason? The truths may seem utterly obvious, but that is also a stimulation of my neurons.

What reason do I have to believe in the reality of all I experience? Why believe I exist at all? What if the law of non-contradiction is but a farce- a cruel cosmic joke with the punchline of a world we will never understand. Some may bask in the mystery of this, but I tremble in terror- Reality may be awful to me if it wills; Screw me over in the sadistic pleasure of bringing me ruin. I have no power, no solid ground. No consolation for the fears of what cannot be known.

But thank God- and I can’t help but thank God for this- it doesn’t end there; If it is reasonable to doubt the validity of reason, than reason has no validity at all. If Reason is false, so are my conclusions: Reality is not a sadistic monster. I’ll say it a different way: If all my mind is in doubt, then there is the doubt that my mind is unreliable. Reason is to be held at all costs, and the only reason to trust it is the trust that we have in our maker- be it evolution, or some sore Greek god- that they/it would give us minds that apprehend reality correctly. 

There is no need for a perdition of all knowledge, or a heaven for all skeptics- their methodology of pure skepticism is flawed in finding any truth. But what about the weak and half-hearted doubters; those who doubt though not in a manner as those who prostrate themselves before the Throne of Ignorance disguised as the Seat of Reason? Is their strategy on par? If and only if they don’t cherry pick the things being doubted but weigh the for and against arguments like a religious text; something that should be taken seriously.

This brings us than to what is akin to Alvin Plantinga’s epistemic philosophy- Believe the perceptions until a contradiction occurs. I wont say those are his exact words but it is the essence of the philosophy put forth in Warrant and Proper Function, severely simplified and converted into a maxim.

And if you’ve agreed with my logic thus far, you may reasonably believe in my maker if (or when) he ever makes himself obvious to you.

“It has long since been discovered that any man or woman enduring pain is beautiful- especially if it’s for something greater; be it truth, virtue, or love. And that is probably because that is exactly what God has done since the beginning of the world; he has sobbed like a lover without a touch- a taste- or even the atheral kiss of the beloved. He sobs like a mother who lost a newborn babe; A mother who lost her child to suicide of her very soul. His love for us is not out of some dry and coercive duty, but he himself seeking our best interest. Hence he suffers when we suffer. Hence he dies so that we may live.”


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