So, What Do We Know?. The skeptical worry. We might worry that our most central beliefs are false. Because the false beliefs are central, many of our other beliefs will depend on them and may also be false. Worse, because of their centrality, we will dismiss counter-evidence.
Or more generally:
Fallibilismis the view that any belief couldbe false, even those supported by seemingly good reasons.
(Charles S. Peirce: 1839-1914)
… he measured a subject’s pain threshold. Then he told the subject that there was no need to say “stop” because he already knew exactly how much the subject could take. When people were denied control, they felt the hurt as more intense.
This fallibilist model of knowledge still doesn’t give us much confidence about knowing anything. Given how strongly our theories can influence us, how do we know what we call “false” isn’t the result of (other) hidden assumptions or false biases?
Scientific theories have changed over time. Why think science gives truth?
Recall the criticisms of falsificationism:
Ptolemy’s system accounted for the motion of the sun, the planets, and the stars by saying they revolved around the Earth every 24 hours. Copernicus’s system accounted for these motions by saying the Earth rotated around its axis every 24 hours.
The mathematical realist (or “Platonist”) claims: