Defeating the self-defeat argument for phenomenal conservativism

Philosophical Studies 152 (3):347-359 (2011)
Michael Huemer has argued for the justification principle known as phenomenal conservativism by employing a transcendental argument that claims all attempts to reject phenomenal conservativism ultimately are doomed to self-defeat. My contribution presents two independent arguments against the self-defeat argument for phenomenal conservativism after briefly presenting Huemer’s account of phenomenal conservativism and the justification for the self-defeat argument. My first argument suggests some ways that philosophers may reject Huemer’s premise that all justified beliefs are formed on the basis of seemings. In the second argument I contend that phenomenal conservativism is not a well-motivated account of internal justification, which is a further reason to reject the self-defeat argument. Consequently, the self-defeat argument fails to show that rejecting phenomenal conservativism inevitably leads one to a self-defeating position.
Keywords Phenomenal conservativism  Michael Huemer  Self-defeat  Basing relation  Direct acquaintance  Internalism  Externalism  Justification
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-009-9482-7
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