Starting with the obvious (and where to go after that).
Access changed 8/24/22
Sometimes it’s tough to tell what we should to do when were thinking about what we should believe and when we’re discussing what to believe with others. Sometimes we disagree with others, even those who we know are more intelligent than we are, and even when we’re thinking to ourselves about what to believe we find we’ve been wrong many times before. Sometimes we think of the ways in which our beliefs could be false. What should we do in these situations? Some philosophers—called “common sense philosophers”—give advice about what to do in these situations: “Start with what’s obvious” and “Don’t give up the more obvious for the less obvious”. One might ask: why the obvious? What is it for something to be obvious anyway? In this dissertation, I answer these questions. I give the different ways something can be obvious (Chapter Two), what it is for something to be obvious (Chapter Three), and I show that my account from Chapter Three enables obviousness to do what common sense philosophers think it can do: it enables someone to steadfastly maintain their belief even when they disagree with someone they know is vastly more intelligent (Chapter Four) and it enables someone to overcome skeptical doubts they have about their own beliefs (Chapter Five).