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I'm currently studying the indirect approach to philosophical scepticism, and I'm struggling as to how you can say anything useful in this particular area of philosophy without dragging yourself into solipsism?
For example, the philosophical sceptic may argue 'How can we know there are other people that have minds?'. It seems impossible to go anywhere with this point - what conclusion could you possibly arrive from it? I find it very difficult to understand because of two conflicting notions - whilst it seems impossible to prove that there are people that have minds, it would seem an absurd and ridiculous life to lead assuming that there are no other minds except my own. So what is one to do?

I'm currently studying the indirect approach to philosophical scepticism, and I'm struggling as to how you can say anything useful in this particular area of philosophy without dragging yourself into solipsism?
For example, the philosophical sceptic may argue 'How can we know there are other people that have minds?'. It seems impossible to go anywhere with this point - what conclusion could you possibly arrive from it? I find it very difficult to understand because of two conflicting notions - whilst it seems impossible to prove that there are people that have minds, it would seem an absurd and ridiculous life to lead assuming that there are no other minds except my own. So what is one to do?

Response from David Papineau on :

You say that 'it is impossible to prove that there are people that have minds'. But doesn't it depend on what standards of proof are required? If you insist on methods of proof that are 'demon-proof' (that is, are guaranteed to deliver truths in every possible scenario, including ones in which an evil demon is manipulating the evidence), then indeed you won't be able to prove that there are other minds (or that sun will rise tomorrow, or that there is a computer in front of you). But why ever set the standards of proof so high? There are plenty of methods of proof that are a very good guide to truth in the real world without being completely demon-proof. Isn't this enough for them to count as sources of knowledge? Of course, even if this much is agreed, plenty of awkward questions remain. Exactly how good do methods of proof need to be to yield knowledge? How can we find out which methods of proof satisfy those standards? And so on. But a first response to the threat of scepticism is surely to...