Jonathan Vogel's Argument Against "Moorean's View"

Published: 2022-04-07
Jonathan Vogel's Argument Against "Moorean's View"
Type of paper:  Critical thinking
Categories:  Philosophers
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1377 words
12 min read

According to Moorean view, there are two different sorts of sensory pleasure. The view states that "sensory experience has a distinctive character or content and, other things being equal, you having such an experience justifies you in holding a corresponding belief" (Tolly, 2010). Moorean gives an example of a person of who seems to see a tree to justify his idea. In this case, the sensory experience gives one a belief that something exists. By giving you such an impression, one gets to believe that he/she is not deceived by something when seeing it before you (Tolly, 201). This view has been refuted by various philosophers that have different ideas where Jonathan Vogel is one of them.

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In Vogel's opinion, the Moorean view appears decisive and straightforward but leaves many unsatisfied. The trouble with it can arise due to an analogy that may present a different case. He cites an example of a car owner using a gas gauge to tell the amount of gas available in the fuel tank. Here, one may look and see the tank is half full but cannot infer the results because the gas gauge gives the same results and it can be assumed that the gauge's reading is correct. In this case, it is easy to realize the absurdity of the Moorean's view. Jonathan argues that one can never use a sensory experience to justify the experience itself is not deceptive just the same way one cannot use the gauge to ascertain the indicator itself is not ambiguous (Tolly, 201). There is no way one can use a particular thing to justify that thing's authenticity. Most probably the result will be false since you will be determined to get a positive result other than real one.

Vogel went ahead describing various instances with the aim of proving his point right against Moorean's idea. In his opinion, a conviction cannot give an individual a reason that whatever is on the computer is not deceptive. A justify a belief has to be non-experiential or priori whereby what is being suggested here is hard to understand. Whenever one's thoughts are based on non-experiential grounds that sensory experience is not deceptive, the source of those grounds must be the reason (Tolly, 2010). This argument is then challenged in the sense that an ordinary reasoning can never prove whether an individual, sensory experience is influenced by what he/she see on the computer or not. As a result, philosophers have maintained their grounds that it requires rationality for a person to believe that sensory experience does not deceive. Just like other philosophers, rational is the root of all beliefs. Despite the rationality, questions still arise on how to determine it because someone may just decide to come up with an argument regarding an assumption made blindly and stated its rational (Tolly, 2010). All these tries to prove how dubious Moorean view sounds.

Explanationism is a philosophical system that justifies a belief following its usefulness in explaining. It holds that an individual's evidence supports a proposition only if that proposition is among the best explanations available for that evidence (Tolly, 2010). It usually faces challenges when it comes to justified beliefs about the future. According to Vogel, the idea behind explanationism is that people are typically justified in hypotheses adoption since they do explain the available data very well. An illustration of a patient is given to illustrate its occurrence. A patient goes to see the doctor where the symptoms seen by the doctor shows that he is suffering from allergy (Tolly, 2010). Apart from this, other possibilities can be true or false regarding the client's condition. In all the existing options, the one with appropriate explanation will always carry the day. In this case, the patient's having allergy appears to explain the symptoms exceptionally well as compared to other hypotheses giving the doctor all the reasons to rule out any other diagnosis apart from allergy. The doctor's conclusion shows inference to the best explanation. A theory that presents a better description of the evidence, therefore, emerges the best. This illustration a carries over to deceiver argument whereby a reason for the occurrence of sensory experiences being that the world is just the way you think it is and your perception is right.

Therefore, the conventional beliefs about the world should call "real world hypotheses," but the emergence of skepticism creates a problem since there exist alternative explanations of the origin of sensory experiences of the body. In case the real world hypothesis explains the existence of visual expertise better than skeptical assumptions, it is necessary to reject dubious alternatives following the best inference to explanation. According to Tolly (2010), in Vogel's opinion, inference to the best explanation refutes the deceiver's argument along the set-out lines, but for the skepticism response to work, a proponent needs to show how and why real-world hypothesis overrides the other following the real obstacles on the way.

evidently, there is no philosophical consensus of what an explanation is or what makes it superior to the other. Another challenge emerging with skepticism is that skeptical hypothesis can be articulated in different ways. There are two types of skeptical hypotheses whereby one is reticent and minimal while the other is more explicit and elaborate. Even with these fully developed versions, this hypotheses still cannot match the real word hypothesis regarding explanatory merits. In skepticism, a person's sensory experience is caused veridically meaning they appear in a way that doesn't reflect the world correctly (Tolly, 2010). Whenever skeptic offers a minimal skeptical hypothesis, a person's experience is caused deceptively by something other than his/her thoughts what shows how this hypothesis is incompatible with the real world hypothesis. The difference between these two hypotheses originates from the cause of one's experience. The two are comparable to the flat and round earth theories whereby the two describes the same thing with different explanations.

The minimal skeptical hypotheses say little or nothing regarding the cause of the experience. It explains nothing about the occurrence of the sensory experience making that explanation defective (Tolly, 2010). Therefore, it is clear that conventional beliefs about the world present a comprehensive explanation of why people do have experiences. For the skeptical hypothesis to match real-world interpretation, it will have to provide more profound reasons than that of the minimal skeptical hypothesis. A detailed description of how experiences arise would make it match or near that of the real world hypothesis. Evidently, assumptions of massive sensory deception do not serve the purpose of skepticism. Therefore, skeptics have to advance this hypothesis to match the exact explanatory success of the real world (Tolly, 2010). By doing that, isomorphic skeptical hypotheses will be formed that will supposedly match real-world hypothesis explanation. If that happens, real world and isomorphic theories would be the same from a critical point of view that leaves us with no basis of choosing one of them over the other (Tolly, 2010). Despite the similar features the two hypotheses may share, some characteristics may make people pick isomorphic skeptical hypotheses over the real world. According to Tolly (2010), real-world hypothesis ascribes several natural properties of the real objects while isomorphic cannot appeal to such features. For instance, when one sees a round peg, he/she attributes the property of being round to that peg. Isomorphic cannot explain such behavior like the real world does it since the computer can never behave round since it's not in that shape. These shortcomings that come with isomorphic skeptical theory would make people reject its explanations. Deceiver argument is a philosophical brilliance that attempts to make skepticism of the external world inevitable. However, this can be evaded by two ways by one, denying the conclusion of the argument, or deny the existence of the second argument. When this maneuver fails, the inference from idea two can replace it. The second way of evading this deception is by accepting the real world hypothesis since it presents a better explanation than the skeptical hypotheses. Its superiority explanation gives an individual a reason to believe it and rejects the skeptical one. With that, the second premise of deceiver stands to fail hence making explanations the answer to the skepticism problems regarding the external world.


Tolly, J. (2010). Skepticism and Inference to the Best Explanation (Doctoral dissertation, Davidson College).

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