Entitlement, Justification, and the Bootstrapping Problem

Acta Analytica 27 (4):345-366 (2012)
According to the bootstrapping problem, any view that allows for basic knowledge (knowledge obtained from a reliable source prior to one’s knowing that that source is reliable) is forced to accept that one can utilize a track-record argument to acquire justification for believing that one’s belief source is reliable; yet, we tend to think that acquiring justification in this way is too easy. In this paper I argue, first, that those who respond to the bootstrapping problem by denying basic knowledge succumb to over-intellectualizing epistemology, and secondly, reliabilist views avoid over-intellectualization only at the expense of sanctioning bootstrapping as a benign procedure. Both of these outcomes are difficult to bear. To ward off each of these unsavory outcomes, I propose an alternative solution that draws on a distinction between two separate epistemic concepts: entitlement and justification.
Keywords Reliabilism  Justification  Entitlement  Bootstrapping  Over-intellectualization  Perception
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-011-0136-y
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John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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