Conservatism, Basic Beliefs, and the Diachronic and Social Nature of Epistemic Justification

Episteme 2 (3):203-218 (2005)
Abstract
Discussions of conservatism in epistemology often fail to demonstrate that the principle of conservatism is supported by epistemic considerations. In this paper, I hope to show two things. First, there is a defensible version of the principle of conservatism, a version that applies only to what I will call our basic beliefs. Those who deny that conservatism is supported by epistemic considerations do so because they fail to take into account the necessarily social, diachronic and self-correcting nature of our epistemic practice. Second, I will attempt to show how our basic beliefs are justifi ed via this principle of conservatism
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