“Skepticism” is an ambiguous word. It could mean a questioning attitude toward and denial , on grounds of absence of evidence or contrary evidence, of the truth of claims concerning the supernatural or the paranormal, or a denial of the claim that we can know anything at all. Classical philosophical skepticism is imbued with the latter meaning. And classical philosophical skepticism is baloney because it is inconsistent with the necessary conditions of its own articulation and affirmation.
There is a simple and fatal argument against philosophical skepticism or the denial that we can know anything at all. This argument rests on the obvious fact that in order to think and assert an intelligible claim, and particularly a philosophical one, one must know a language. Otherwise, one cannot know what or which claim one is thinking or asserting. Further, a person asserting a claim publicly must presuppose that others, at least some of them, can know or understand that claim.
From these obvious facts, which are necessary conditions of any private or public assertion of a claim, it follows that a philosophical skeptic who claims that we cannot know anything must (a) know the language in which the claim of philosophical skepticism is formulated and asserted, and as a consequence (b) must know what the claim of philosophical skepticism means, and (c) must assume, in publicly asserting it, that others can know or understand that claim of philosophical skepticism.
The baloney in philosophical skepticism should be obvious now. The fact that it is asserted privately or publicly shows that at least one must know a language and must assume that others can understand or know what it means. But the assertion of philosophical skepticism is that we cannot know anything! Since its very formulation and assertion presupposes knowledge of language, it is self-refuting.
Further, it follows from (a) that the skeptic must know what philosophical skepticism means in order to genuinely assert it and to ask others to consider it or take it seriously. But then this refutes or undermines the position which holds that we cannot know anything! If we cannot know anything, then it follows that we cannot know what philosophical skepticism is! Why then add to the jarring noises of the “philosophy marketplace”?
And if the skeptic retorts that (c) is not tantamount to a knowledge-claim or implies knowledge, we could point out that his or her public assertion of the skeptical position is self-defeating. Why would you assert a position publicly, or assert it to anyone, if you believe that others cannot know what you are asserting, or worse, if you cannot know what it means?
The best thing to do would be to shut up and spare the world the din of further philosophical nonsense!