The Indispensibility of Internalism in Epistemology

Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison (2004)
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Does internalism constitute a comprehensive epistemological position, opposing externalism, with its own distinctive motivation? Many paradigm internalist epistemologists think that internalism fails to do so. In this dissertation, I defend the thesis that internalism provides an indispensable contribution to the problem of knowledge that stands on its own as a serious rival to externalism. ;In Chapter I, I explain why there is, in addition to truth, an irremovable external element to knowledge and how this has led these internalists to think that since any plausible account of knowledge must understand it as depending to some extent on certain externalist conditions, internalism cannot succeed to give an adequate account of knowledge. ;In Chapter II, I argue that what must be appealed to for justification is evidence that is internal to one's own epistemic perspective. Given the nature of one's own epistemic predicament, there is only one way to proceed: one has to work with his own internal resources to determine by his own lights what is reliable and what is true. ;In Chapter III, I argue that this notion of justification is necessary for knowledge. The reason for this is that the belief condition for knowledge must be adequately related, from one's own epistemic perspective, to the truth condition. However, if they are not thus related, there is room for ignorance and accidentally true belief in which case there isn't knowledge. ;In Chapter III, I argue that internalism can require an indefeasibility condition in order to solve the Gettier problem, but that would not make the internalist approach to the problem of knowledge partially externalist, much less inadequate. For, the justification condition introduces a decidedly internalist note: the indefeasibility condition cannot connect a given belief to truth without the justification condition.



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