Return to Skepticism
It is possible, the skeptic argument declares, for man to be in error; therefore, it is possible that every individual is in error on every question. This argument is a non sequitur; it is an equivocation on the term “possible.”
What is possible to a species under some circumstances, is not necessarily possible to every individual member of that species under every set of circumstances. Thus, it is possible for a human being to run the mile in less than four minutes; and it is possible for a human being to be pregnant. I cannot, however, go over to a crippled gentleman in his wheelchair and say: “Perhaps you’ll give birth to a son next week, after you’ve run the mile to the hospital in 3.9 minutes—after all, you’re human, and it is possible for human beings to do these things.”
The same principle applies to the possibility of error—or of truth. If someone maintains that New York City is made of mushroom soup, he cannot defend his idea by saying: “It is possible for human beings to reach the truth, I am human, so maybe this is the truth.” No matter what is possible under some conditions, a man cannot be “possibly” right when he is blatantly wrong. By the same token, no skeptic can declare that you are possibly wrong, when you are blatantly right. “It is possible for man . . . ” does not justify “It is possible that you . . . ” The latter claim depends on the individual involved, and on the conditions.
“Maybe you’re wrong” is an accusation that must be supported by specific evidence. It cannot be uttered without context, grounds, or basis, i.e., arbitrarily.