BonJour, externalism and the regress problem

Synthese 148 (1):135-169 (2006)
In this paper I assess the two central ingredients of Laurence BonJour’s position on empirical knowledge that have survived the transition from his earlier coherentist views to his current endorsement of the doctrine of the given: his construal of the problem of the epistemic regress and his rejection of an internalist solution to the problem. The bulk of the paper is devoted to a critical assessment of BonJour’s arguments against externalism. I argue that they fail to put real pressure on externalism, as they rely on a highly questionable conception of epistemic rationality and responsibility. Then, more briefly, I take issue with BonJour’s endorsement of the irrelevance thesis—the claim that even if externalism were true it would not offer a satisfactory solution to the epistemic regress problem. I contend that he is not entitled to subscribe this thesis unless he is prepared to abandon his construal of the problem.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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B. J. C. Madison (2010). Epistemic Internalism. Philosophy Compass 5 (10):840-853.

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