What the Basing Relation can Teach Us About the Theory of Justification

According to a common view, the activity of justifying is epistemologically irrelevant: being justified in believing as one does never requires the ability to justify one’s belief. This view runs into trouble regarding the epistemic basing relation, the relation between a person’s belief and the reasons for which the person holds it. The view must appeal to basing relations as part of its account of what it is for a person to be justified in believing as she does, but the view prevents basing relations from doing the needed work. In place of the common view, I propose an account of basing relations which links them to the person’s commitments and hence to her justificatory activity. If this proposal is correct, then positive justificatory status, too, will be conceptually linked to the ability to succeed in the activity of justifying.
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