Epistemic Circularity and Common Sense: A Reply to Reed

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):198-207 (2006)
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When one depends on a belief source in sustaining a belief that that very belief source is trustworthy, then that belief is an epistemically circular belief. A number of philosophers have objected to externalism in epistemology on the grounds that it commits one to thinking EC-beliefs can be justified, something they view as an unhappy consequence for externalism. In my 2004, I defend externalism against this sort of charge by explaining why this consequence needn’t be an unhappy one. In the course of doing so, I appeal to what Thomas Reid calls ‘common sense’—a faculty or belief source by which we know noninferentially such things as that our faculties are trustworthy. In his 2006, Baron Reed raises what he takes to be serious objections to what I say about both epistemic circularity and common sense. In what follows, I’ll respond to his objections, explaining why I side with Reid against Reed.



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Michael Bergmann
Purdue University

References found in this work

Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 1785 - University Park, Pa.: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Derek R. Brookes & Knud Haakonssen.
Warranted Christian Belief.Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
The Foundations of Knowing.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1982 - Univ of Minnesota Press.

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