David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Social Epistemology 16 (4):367 – 376 (2002)
The article is an attempt to better understand the objections to the doctrine of 'reliabilism' made by prominent epistemologists. The view argued for here is that while one extreme case of anti-reliabilism seems to be the paradigm case against the entire concept, this very case points out some additional, and implicit, problems with the standard account of epistemic justification. The most notable is that the standard view attacks reliabilism on the grounds that it lacks a means of giving adequate reasons or evidence for its claims. We argue that the standard view, while correct on its paradigm case against reliabilism, is itself weakened by its lack of recognition of the central role theories of evidence must play in its basic account. Since theories of evidence are themselves divergent and problematic in terms of explaining how claims are justified, the standard account needs to address the issues of which account of evidence is 'adequate' and why it is. It is finally suggested that traditional epistemology might be more accurately described as a branch of confirmation theory.
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