Justification, reasons, and reliability

Synthese 64 (1):69 - 92 (1985)
Some time ago, F. P. Ramsey (1960) suggested that knowledge is true belief obtained by a reliable process. This suggestion has only recently begun to attract serious attention. In 'Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge', Alvin Goldman (1976) argues that a person has knowl- edge only if that person's belief has been formed as a result of a reliable cognitive mechanism. In Belief, Truth, and Knowledge, David Arm- strong (1973) argues that one has knowledge only if one's belief is a comPletely reliable sign of the truth of the proposition believed. On both of these theories, the reliability of one's belief is a necessary condition of that belief's being an instance of knowledge. These reliability theories have another interesting feature in common, namely, that neither of them explicitly requires or includes the traditional justification requirement for knowledge. Reliability has taken over the role of justification. This naturally leads to the question whether reliability and justification are related in some philosophically interes- ting fashion. In this paper I shall investigate this question. The result will be a positive proposal to the effect that justified belief is reliable belief. This result, in turn, explains why reliability can take over the role of justification in an account of knowledge. Moreover, the identification of justification with reliability constitutes a step toward the naturalization of normative epistemological concepts.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00485712
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References found in this work BETA
D. M. Armstrong (1973). Belief, Truth and Knowledge. London,Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
D. E. Over (1987). Russell's Hierarchy of Acquaintance. Philosophical Papers 16 (2):107-124.

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