The Instigator
asyetundefined
Pro (for)
Losing
27 Points
The Contender
burningpuppies101
Con (against)
Winning
44 Points

The Validity of Philosophical Skepticism

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/25/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,920 times Debate No: 5812
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (25)
Votes (11)

 

asyetundefined

Pro

The debate is not about whether or not we should actually be skeptics, but rather whether or not skepticism has any valid points.
burningpuppies101

Con

Here are 4 examples why I win.
1.Descartes' famous dreaming doubt: What if I am asleep in bed right now, and only dreaming that I am awake, and writing? Isn't that at least possible? Then he said, well surely, I can tell when I am awake and when I am asleep. I can tell the difference between wakefulness and a dream. All sorts of strange things happen in dreams; I pass unaccountably from scene to scene when I'm dreaming; I don't have any long memory of what happened in a day, when I'm dreaming; and so forth. Then Descartes said: Haven't I had those very thoughts in some of my dreams? Sometimes, when I was dreaming, I was convinced that I was awake! I even tried to test that I was awake, when I was dreaming, and the tests convinced me that I was awake! But I was wrong; I was dreaming. Isn't it quite possible that the same thing is happening to me right now? Isn't it possible that I am dreaming that I can test whether I'm awake or asleep -- and of course, in my dream, I pass the test? So it seems really vivid to me right now that I'm awake -- but in fact, I'm asleep? Well, Descartes said to himself, I guess there aren't any definite signs, or tests, that I could use to tell whether I'm asleep or dreaming. I could, after all, be dreaming those very tests. I have experience of doing that, thinking that I passed the test for being awake, when really I was only dreaming. So there isn't any way to tell that I am awake now. I cannot possibly prove that I am awake. So, Descartes said to himself, I don't really know that I am awake now and writing in the evening. For all I really know, I could be asleep.
2. You can't prove that perception is reliable without assuming that your senses are reliable and thereby begging the question at issue.
3. Hume argued that people can only know about the external world through perceptions of it, and the accuracy of these perceptions cannot be proven.
4. Descartes Evil Demon
5. Brain in a vat.
I'll save the rest for the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
asyetundefined

Pro

CON I would like to thank you for joining the argument, however I hope you realize that you have made a grave mistake. The topic is the Validity of skepticism- and I am PRO (for) Validity and you are CON (against) Skepticism's validity.
I do believe your mistake is truly an accident, thus for this round of argument I have decided to not further my portion of the debate.

If you CON wish to argue your actual position (against skepticism) I will gladly continue this debate into the next round.
burningpuppies101

Con

I'm incredibly sorry about the blunder I made. Just to see if I can, I'll argue the Con side, just to see if I can.

So basically, the CON must provide arguments as to why Skepticism has no valid points. Because my opponent hasn't provided any examples, I'll use the ones that I presented myself.

But first, contentions.
1. Self Refuting. Arguments for skepticism are largely circular. For instance, look to my first example, Descartes dreaming doubt. Descartes just goes around and around and around, and Descartes is never able to come to a conclusion. Because of the in-ability to come to an objective answer other than, I don't know, this is not a valid argument.

2. It is impractical. If we were to apply skepticism to real life, we would never be able to come to a decision, since any logic we try to use defeats itself. We would constantly question ourselves. We can use my second example. Here is sample situation. You are on a cliff. Someone asks you to jump. You ask why. The person replies, why not? You cannot answer this because you are a skeptic. So the logic would go like this: I should not jump because I will die. But i can't show that I will die. But I can't show that I won't. But I can't even show the cliff exists. Then again, I can't show I exist. So if I don't exist, I can jump off an imaginary cliff, and since I can't show nothing will happen, I can't show I'll be hurt.

That argument can be used in converse, and because skepticism is circular, it is useless.

I'll refute my examples here:
1. Look to my first contention.
2. Look to my second contention.
3. It is circular. Look to my first contention. or my second. They both apply.
4. Look to my first contention and my second contention.
5. Same.

So if you look at the debate, all the examples can be refuted with a combo of my 2 contentions. Since my opponent hasn't provided any other points to refute, I'll end here.

Thank you
Debate Round No. 2
asyetundefined

Pro

Thanks for being a good sport burningpuppie101!

(1) Firstly Descartes does come to a conclusion- which is that his sensory experience can be doubted- therefore he must accept one of several disturbing consequences (that he is dreaming, he is being deceived, or that he is a brain in a vat). There is no reason to accept the idea that Descartes goes around and around as was described by CON. Secondly Skepticism is not circular- in fact it is everyday statements that are circular; which then lead us to skepticism (Agrippan modes - circularity: http://en.wikipedia.org...).
For example: -statement:
"God exists"
-justification for statement:
"The bible says God exists"
-Justification for bible's statement:
"The bible is the word of God"
--> circularity = false statement.
Agrippan modes show that a majority of everyday statements are actually assumptions or are circular- which shows that many of our claims to knowledge are actually false.

(2) The claim that skepticism is impractical is meaningless because it does not influence the truth value of it. Perhaps complete adoption of skepticism would lead us into indecisiveness but that still does not make it any less true.
Secondly it is doubtful that adoption of skepticism would even lead to indecision because skepticism is a methodology, rather than an ideology. skepticism, as pointed out by philosopher Michael Williams is opposed to dogmatism (dogmatism being a chief factor in ideology). If I am a skeptic I doubt statements that lack consistency, truth value- or are of a dubious nature. One does not stand atop a cliff and doubt the existence of gravity- gravity is constant and non-contradictory, there is no reason to doubt it. However if you tell me that you are in both Hong-Kong and Egypt simultaneously, it is only rational to apply skepticism and doubt your claim as knowledge.

In closing, thanx for reading & commenting!
burningpuppies101

Con

Thanks to my opponent for this debate, I hope we all learned something.

1. Because Descartes doesn't come to a conclusion is my whole point. He can't come to a conclusion as to which of the 3 possibilities is happening, since skepticism has only led him to believe in nothing. That is why I argue that this is not a valid point of skepticism, since we don't get a conclusion.

2. So if you don't argue for a complete adoption of skepticism, you imply that there are somethings that should not be adopted in skepticism. Thanks for proving my point.

Wrong. If you were a true skeptic, which you argue is fine, you could lead yourself to believe that you are convincing yourself that gravity exists. Because you can't prove it. Why should I believe something that I can't prove? You try to prove it by saying it is constant. But how do we know what we experience is true? The only way to test our experiences is to experiences, which in itself is a logical fallacy. Therefore, this is not a true skeptic point.

In closing, the only attempts my opponent has made to prove that there are valid points to skepticism is to use our experiences. However, that is a logical fallacy. He makes no argument to my 5 examples and arguments other than, we know it not to be. We know gravity exists. But do we? We can't prove it, nor can we disprove it. On the same line, anything we try to prove might not be, since our way of proving it makes the assumption what we experience is right, but how do we know? Because this never gets us to a conclusion like an argument should, my opponent has not shown that skepticism does indeed have valid points, I win.
Debate Round No. 3
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Voting as a Cleaner:

Conduct - TIE: Both were courteous

Spelling and Grammar - TIE: Didn't find too many mistakes on either side

Convincing Arguments - PRO: The examples CON gave and eventually used are all pretty much the same, except probably for Hume though he never brought it up. CON tackled the point about how skepticism is circular and impractical. However, PRO successfully defeated these points by showing how skepticism is a method, and impracticality has no merit on the truth value of skepticism.

Reliable Sources - PRO: I gave it to PRO since he had at least one source concerning the point about circularity.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Voting as a Cleaner:

Conduct - TIE: Both were courteous

Spelling and Grammar - TIE: Didn't find too many mistakes on either side

Convincing Arguments - PRO: The examples CON gave and eventually used are all pretty much the same, except probably for Hume though he never brought it up. CON tackled the point about how skepticism is circular and impractical. However, PRO successfully defeated these points by showing how skepticism is a method, and impracticality has no merit on the truth value of skepticism.

Reliable Sources - PRO: I gave it to PRO since he had at least one source concerning the point about circularity.
Posted by burningpuppies101 8 years ago
burningpuppies101
good, cuz thats what i did. i was worried i was taking the debate the wrong way...
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
Oh wait.... yeah, my bad. Attack your examples and you should be fine.
Posted by burningpuppies101 8 years ago
burningpuppies101
rezz, do explain.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
No, Skeptic. I mean CON's examples can be made into arguments FOR his side WITHOUT needing to REFUTE his examples.
Posted by burningpuppies101 8 years ago
burningpuppies101
o, shoot. I just realized i'm debating the wrong side. ok, i don't know what i'll do from here. i'll think of something...
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
True, I can only assume that CON will attempt to refute the examples he gave?
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
Then all five examples can be CON arguments.

Thing is, they haven't been used. They've simply been presented.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
The fourth and fifth examples are essentially the same. The fifth example is just the contemporary version of Descartes fourth version.

According to the brain in the vat (and essentially the evil daemon) thought experiment, it says what if a brain was attached to all these nodes and wires which effectively simulated virtual reality for that brain. And from all the knowledge the brain could input, it's impossible from the perspective of that brain of whether or not it's a person, or a brain in a vat. Since we can't rule out the possibility that all our beliefs are false, then there is no good ground for believing in them.

And yeah, this is an argument for philosophical skepticism and Solipsism.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Sedylitz 8 years ago
Sedylitz
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by asyetundefined 8 years ago
asyetundefined
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by King_Jas 8 years ago
King_Jas
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Cindela 8 years ago
Cindela
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by crazypenguin 8 years ago
crazypenguin
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by burningpuppies101 8 years ago
burningpuppies101
asyetundefinedburningpuppies101Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07