Philosophical Topics 45 (1):33-61 (2017)

Peter Graham
University of California, Riverside
Alvin Goldman’s paper “What Is Justified Belief" and his book Epistemology and Cognition pioneered reliabilist theories of epistemic justifiedness. In light of counterexamples to necessity and counterexamples to sufficiency, Goldman has offered a number of refinements and modifications. This paper focuses on those refinements that relativize the justification conferring force of a belief-forming process to its reliably producing a high ratio of true beliefs over falsehoods in special circumstances: reliability in the actual world, in normal worlds, and in nonmanipulated environments. This paper argues that Goldman’s refinements fall short and suggests instead the relativization to reliability in normal circumstances. Normal circumstances are those where the belief-forming process acquired the etiological function of reliably inducing true beliefs. This theory invites the Swampman objection. Two lines of response are pursued.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0276-2080
DOI 10.5840/philtopics20174513
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