Review: Radical Skepticism and the Shadow Of Doubt, Eli Hirsch, Bloomsbury, 2018

The Central Argument: The Impossibility Of Doubt

I assume most readers are familiar with skepticism in one form or another. Sometimes, you dream, and in the dream (at least, as far as you can recall) you don’t think you’re dreaming. That’s why you wake up scared when the plastic shark with real teeth crashes through your window and threatens to gnaw your leg off. Or consider the movie The Matrix. What you take to be reality is in fact a simulation your brain is wired up to: everything you experience is the product of computers and you are entirely mislead about the true nature of reality.


This is a very interesting argument. I propose to leave assessment of its merits as a piece of epistemology to others more qualified. Rather, I want to concentrate on two areas not immediately related to mainstream analytic philosophy where I think we can learn by reflecting on Hirsch’s book. Hirsch uses some premises about unfathomable loneliness to draw conclusions about skepticism. I want to consider the possibility here of going in the other direction: from skepticism to loneliness.


Bostrom, Nick. 2003. ‘Are You Living In A Computer Simulation?’, The Philosophical Quarterly



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