Russell, Tables, and the Promise of Fallibilism

Barret Emerick


I will propose and argue for a new skeptical hypothesis using Michael Huemer’s broad definition of skepticism, which he defines as, “any philosophical theory that challenges a significant class of commonsense beliefs” (Huemer, 2001 18). In light of that definition, my skeptical hypothesis is this: the possibility exists that there are a great many phenomena in the world that we cannot and will never be able to perceive. As such our picture of the world might be dramatically and systematically incomplete in a way that challenges the commonsense beliefs we employ in our everyday lives. I am not arguing that this particular skeptical threat is any more than a possibility – I am not arguing that skepticism is true. Instead, what I am arguing for is the claim that the threat of skepticism, when taken seriously, should encourage us to adopt an attitude of fallibilism towards the world and our knowledge of it which benefits us both as philosophers and as people.

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