Here’s an epistemological puzzle. What’s the right way to be a skeptic when it comes to thinking about a possible psychopath? I don’t mean a serial murderer or anything, but a more everyday kind of psychopath – you know, no conscience, compulsive lying, good at manipulation, persuasive, charming, successful.
You know a number of people who suspect that X is a psychopath of that type. You too know X and have always found X charming and persuasive.
What’s the skeptic thing to do? To doubt the people you know? Or to doubt your own sense of X? As a good skeptic, you know that people can be charming and persuasive and still be psychopaths, but you also know that not all charming and persuasive people are psychopaths, in fact most are not. As a good skeptic, you know that people can be wrong about other people, but you also know that that applies to you as well as to other people.
It’s tricky, isn’t it.