The Externalist’s Demon

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (3):399-434 (2009)

Clayton Littlejohn
King's College London
In this paper, I defend externalist accounts of justified belief from Cohen's new evil demon objection. While I think that Cohen might be right that the person is justified in believing what she does, I argue that this is because we can defend the person from criticism and that defending a person is a very different thing from defending a person's attitudes or actions. To defend a person's attitudes or actions, we need to show that they met standards or did not violate norms. Intuitions about whether we can defend a person from criticism are a poor guide when it comes to determining whether norms were violated or standards were met. It turns out that even radical forms of externalism about justification are compatible with the intuitions that Cohen's example elicits. Properly understood, those intuitions show that the believer should be excused from criticism (and excused for failing to believe with adequate justification).
Keywords New Evil Demon Problem  Reliabilism  Personal Justification  Justification and Excuse  Enkratic Requirement  Epistemic Excuses
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DOI cjphil200939317
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References found in this work BETA

What is Justified Belief.Alvin Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
How to Be a Fallibilist.Stewart Cohen - 1988 - Philosophical Perspectives 2:91-123.

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Citations of this work BETA

Deontology and Descartes’s Demon.Brian Weatherson - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (9):540-569.
XV—The Russellian Retreat.Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):293-320.
The Composite Nature of Epistemic Justification.Paul Silva Jr - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1).

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