How To Be Conservative: A Partial Defense of Epistemic Conservatism

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):501-514 (2013)
Conservatism about perceptual justification tells us that we cannot have perceptual justification to believe p unless we also have justification to believe that perceptual experiences are reliable. There are many ways to maintain this thesis, ways that have not been sufficiently appreciated. Most of these ways lead to at least one of two problems. The first is an over-intellectualization problem, whereas the second problem concerns the satisfaction of the epistemic basing requirement on justified belief. I argue that there is at least one Conservative view that survives both difficulties, a view which has the further ability to undercut a crucial consideration that has supported Dogmatist views about perceptual justification. The final section explores a tension between Conservatism and the prospects of having a completely general account of propositional justification. Ironically, the problem is that Conservatives seem committed to making the acquisition of propositional justification too easy. My partial defense of Conservatism concludes by suggesting possible solutions to this problem.
Keywords conservatism  dogmatism  perceptual justification  propositional justification  doxastic justification  epistemic basing  grounds  entitlements  easy justification
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DOI 10.1080/00048402.2012.751431
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References found in this work BETA
Crispin Wright (2004). Warrant for Nothing (and Foundations for Free)? Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):167–212.
Michael Huemer (2007). Compassionate Phenomenal Conservatism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):30–55.
Stewart Cohen (2002). Basic Knowledge and the Problem of Easy Knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (2):309-329.

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Declan Smithies (2015). Why Justification Matters. In David Henderson & John Greco (eds.), Epistemic Evaluation: Point and Purpose in Epistemology. Oxford University Press 224-244.

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