Skepticism and inquiry

Sanford C. Goldberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, I am interested in skepticism's downstream effects on further inquiry. To account for these downstream effects, we need to distinguish (i) the (skepticismsupporting) reasons for doubting whether p, (ii) one's other background beliefs bearing on the prospects that further inquiry would improve one's epistemic position on p, and (iii) the value one assigns to determining whether p. I advance two claims regarding skepticism's downstream effects on inquiry. First, it is characteristic of "radical"forms of skepticism that (i) is sufficient to undermine the prospect described in (ii). By contrast (and second), ordinary forms of skepticism, which can be identified in connection with (ii), can actually be a boon to inquiry by enhancing (iii). In such cases, having reasons for skeptical doubt is not merely compatible with inquiring further, but also serves to motivate and to help frame such inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-324
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal for the Study of Skepticism
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Defeater
  • Doubt
  • Inquiry
  • Scientific dissent
  • Skepticism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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