Philosophical Review 113 (3):435-437 (2004)

Michael Bergmann
Purdue University
Epistemic Justification illuminates in a deep way some core issues in contemporary epistemology. Its two authors disagree sharply about the nature of epistemic justification: both are foundationalists but whereas BonJour is a staunch defender of a traditional version of internalist foundationalism, Sosa argues for an externalist virtue reliabilism. In spite of their differences they speak the same language and employ the same rigorous standards for philosophical interchange. They most assuredly do not talk past each other. In part because of this, but also in part because of the philosophical experience and insightfulness of the authors, we very quickly get to the topic at the heart of their disagreement: the question whether justification requires the subject to be aware of what her belief has going for it. BonJour says yes and Sosa says no. Both recognize that there are difficulties to be faced on either side of the debate. The great value of this book lies in the persuasiveness with which the authors press these difficulties and the vigor with which they resist them—something that is all the more impressive given their focus on introspective beliefs, the grounding of which is significantly more difficult to think and write clearly about than is the grounding of perceptual beliefs. Indeed, it is largely because of this careful discussion of the justification of introspective belief that the exchange is so rewarding.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0031-8108
DOI 10.1215/00318108-113-3-435
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