Justification Without Excuses: A Defense of Classical Deontologism

American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (4):353-366 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Arguably, the original conception of epistemic justification comes from Descartes and Locke, who thought of justification deontologically. Moreover, their deontological conception was especially strict: there are no excuses for unjustified beliefs. Call this the “classical deontologist” conception of justification. As the original conception, we ought to accept it unless proven untenable. Nowadays, however, most have abandoned classical deontologism as precisely that—untenable. It stands accused of requiring doxastic voluntarism and normative transparency. My goal is to rescue classical deontologism from these accusations. I show how, given a specific form of internalism coupled with a plausible theory of epistemic blame, we can be blameworthy for all of our (non-exempt) unjustified beliefs without transparency or voluntarism. The result is that the classical deontological conception of justification should regain its privileged status.

Similar books and articles

Excuses, excuses.Marcia Baron - 2007 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 1 (1):21-39.
Justifications, Excuses, and Sceptical Scenarios.Timothy Williamson - forthcoming - In Fabian Dorsch & Julien Dutant (eds.), The New Evil Demon. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
On justifications and excuses.B. J. C. Madison - 2017 - Synthese 195 (10):4551-4562.
A Plea for Epistemic Excuses.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Julien Dutant Fabian Dorsch (ed.), The New Evil Demon Problem. Oxford University Press.
Access Internalism and the Guidance Deontological Conception of Justification.Ram Neta - 2016 - American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (2):155-168.
Locke on Empirical Knowledge.Nathan Rockwood - 2018 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 35 (4).
Justifications and Excuses.Marcia Baron - 2004 - Ohio St. J. Crim. L 2:387.


Added to PP

130 (#133,601)

6 months
49 (#78,491)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Blake McAllister
Hillsdale College

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
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.
The Epistemic Role of Consciousness.Declan Smithies - 2019 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
Compassionate phenomenal conservatism.Michael Huemer - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):30–55.

View all 34 references / Add more references