Philosophy of the Social Sciences 24 (2):178-191 (1994)
The author argues that the concept of justification is viewed best through elucidation of the processes of ethical and epistemic justification, with specific attention paid to what has been dubbed the "internalist/externalist" distinction in such justification. The first part of the argument clarifies the nature of the distinction as it occurs in ethics and then epistemic justification, noting that there is a parallel between the uses of the distinction, but that it is the way in which the uses are not parallel that is most salient for conceptual purposes. The author then claims that there is an analogous distinction, frequently made in ethical justification, and that is the alleged normative/descriptive distinction. A look at the intersection of that distinction with the internalist/externalist juncture yields the notion that epistemic justification, in particular, could benefit from an externalist/ descriptive approach. Finally, the author argues that we would do well to apply some of the work of the social sciences to epistemic justification theory. The author concludes that the concept of justification includes all four components (internalist, externalist, nor mative, and descriptive) and that clarification of justification simpliciter involves an examination of justification in its various modes.
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