A paradox of justified believing

Ratio 22 (3):278-290 (2009)

Abstract

The following principles may plausibly be included in a wide range of theories of epistemic justification: (1) There are circumstances in which an agent is justified in believing a falsehood, (2) There are circumstances in which an agent is justified in believing a principle of epistemic justification, (3) Beliefs acquired in compliance with a justifiably-believed epistemic principle are justified. I argue that it follows from these three individually plausible claims that an agent's belief may be both justified and unjustified. I consider how theories may avoid this paradox, and conclude that deontological theories of epistemic justification face considerable, perhaps insurmountable, difficulties.

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