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The Illusion of Doubt$
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Genia Schönbaumsfeld

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783947

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783947.001.0001

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The Incoherence of Global Validation

The Incoherence of Global Validation

(p.107) 4 The Incoherence of Global Validation
The Illusion of Doubt

Genia Schönbaumsfeld

Oxford University Press

Wittgenstein’s notion of ‘hinge propositions’—those propositions that stand fast for us and around which all empirical enquiry turns—remains controversial and elusive, and none of the recent attempts to make sense of it seem entirely satisfactory. There tend to be two options: either a ‘quasi-epistemic’ reading that seeks to downplay the radical nature of Wittgenstein’s proposal by assimilating his thought to more mainstream epistemological views is offered, or a non-epistemic, ‘quasi-pragmatic’ conception is endorsed that goes too far in the opposite direction by, for example, equating ‘hinge propositions’ with a type of ‘animal’ certainty. Neither interpretative strategy, I will argue, is promising, for the reason that ‘hinges’ are best not conceived as certainties (or uncertainties) at all. Rather, what Wittgenstein says in respect to them is that doubt is ‘logically’ excluded. And where there can be no doubt, there is no such thing as knowledge or certainty either.

Keywords:   hinge propositions, certainty, logical exclusion of doubt, global validation, closure principle, transmission principle

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