Does Gordon Clark’s Philosophy Result in Skepticism?

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This is a list of Gordon Clark quotes about whether Clark’s philosophy results in skepticism.

The books from which these quotes came are published by the Trinity Foundation. You can purchase the books at these links:

Avoiding Skepticism

The third point has to do with an “absolute world” and the avoidance of skepticism. I avoid skepticism by asserting revealed, eternal truths. I do not insist that one should know all truths; I do not deny a large area of ignorance; but if even one truth is known, skepticism is removed. For this reason, charges that I cannot guarantee this or that particular truth and that there are gaps in my system are irrelevant. Finding it very difficult to achieve omniscience, I have refrained from making such a claim. Indeed, if I have learned anything at all during a lifetime of philosophy, it is the exceedingly great difficulty in learning anything at all. And if anyone detects some change of view between my first and last publications, it is a greater emphasis on ignorance. Whether one wishes to prove that Brutus killed Caesar, or whether the law of gravitation explains and describes planetary motion, or whether memory is trustworthy, or whether sensation is the basis of perception, or whether sensation itself is only a word without meaning — all these entail problems so difficult that none of us can be sure of any answer.

No doubt this makes charges of skepticism understandable, but charges of skepticism must be based on some positive position. My replies aim to undermine the unacknowledged position. Elsewhere I challenged my critics to confront Descartes’ demon of deception. Here another well-known obstacle to knowledge may be added. The difficulty is usually stated in the form of a question: How do you know that the world has been in existence for more than five minutes? One might as well reduce the time to five seconds. In the absence of a revelation to the contrary we may suppose that God created everything just a moment ago: trees with rings and people with mental notions called memories. There is no empirical “evidence” that can verify the truth of any statement in the past tense. Under this condition our alleged knowledge of ourselves is as precarious as our notions of Brutus. And the objections to my views drop away because they have no support.

Gordon H. Clark. “Clark and His Critics.” Apple Books. 402-404.

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