Introspective self-knowledge and reasoning: An externalist guide [Book Review]

Erkenntnis 71 (1):89 - 105 (2009)
According to the received view, externalist grounds or reasons need not be introspectively accessible. Roughly speaking, from an externalist point of view, a belief will be epistemically justified, iff it is based upon facts that make its truth objectively highly likely. This condition can be satisfied, even if the epistemic agent does not have actual or potential awareness of the justifying facts. No inner perspective on the belief-forming mechanism and its truth-ratio is needed for a belief to be justified. In my view, this is not the whole story. While I agree that introspective access to our reasons is a defining feature of justification for the access internalist, not the externalist, I will argue that even for the latter, some kind of introspective access is an epistemic desideratum. Yet, even given that I am right, the desirable might not be achievable for us. Recent psychological research suggests that we do not dispose of reliable introspection into the sources of our own beliefs. This seems to undermine the claim that we can introspectively know about the reasons upon which our beliefs are based. In this paper I will therefore additionally show why these results do not threaten the kind of introspective access desirable from an externalist point of view.
Keywords Philosophy   Logic   Ethics   Ontology   Epistemology   Philosophy
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