concept pages: copyright Robert Ellis 2011

Sceptical slippage

Sceptical slippage is the term I have coined for the tendency for agnostic scepticism to insensibly become negative metaphysics. This tendency is not an inevitable process, but it can often be observed in thinking which begins with sceptical arguments. It can be seen, for example, in the ways that agnosticism about God is appropriated by atheists, the way that compatibilists (who are actually determinists) try to take the agnostic ground in the debate about freewill, or the way that Wittgensteinians adopt representationalist assumptions to support what they think of as a pragmatist position. It can be seen quite frequently in political debate, where a politician assumes that a point against his opponent is a point in favour of his own position.

Sceptical slippage tends to occur for a variety of (possibly overlapping) reasons:

Links to related discussion

Features of nihilism (from thesis)

The classical roots of nihilism (from thesis)

Hegel (from thesis)

Marx (from thesis)


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