Epistemic Circularity: An Essay on the Problem of Meta-Justification

Dissertation, The Ohio State University (2000)

Abstract
Epistemic circularity is, roughly stated, a property of an argument such that its conclusion must be true if one may be said to have a justified belief in its premises. An example is an argument for the general reliability of sense-perception that makes use of sensory beliefs among its premises; as William Alston has pointed out, epistemic circularity poses a difficult problem for defending the reliability of sense-perception. It is also a key element in for a related meta-epistemological problem, dubbed here The Problem of Meta-Justification. First we pose a question: how can we ultimately justify our standards of justification? The difficulty can be neatly stated in the form of a Meta-Regress Argument similar to the classic regress argument for foundationalism. The options offered by the Meta-Regress Argument are: self-support meta-foundationalism, meta-coherentism, meta-regressism, strict particularism, strict methodism, and meta-skepticism. ;One might attempt to defuse the threat of epistemic circularity by attempting to show it to be "virtuous," rather than vicious. But no one has adequately argued that epistemic, circularity is indeed virtuous, and several arguments can be deployed showing it to be vicious. Meta-coherentists, drawing on insights related to the Method of Reflective Equilibrium, might try to find ways to mitigate the viciousness; but their attempts fail. Varieties of particularism and methodism, two positions on the Problem of the Criterion, might also be offered as a way to escape epistemic circularity; but these views too fall prey to serious objections. ;The results of Chapters 1--3 of this dissertation, sketched above, appear to support meta-skepticism. It is possible, however, that there are some beliefs that are epistemically rational but nonjustified . Such beliefs can support justification standards without themselves being justified. In this way, meta-skepticism can be avoided. This solution to the Problem of Meta-Justification is developed in Chapter 4 in a way that owes a heavy debt to the epistemology of the great Scots philosopher, Thomas Reid
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,949
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Puzzle of Metacoherence.Michael Huemer - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):1-21.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Epistemic Norms and Epistemological Methods.Jared Guy Bates - 2001 - Dissertation, University of Missouri - Columbia
Harmless Epistemic Circularity?Juho Ritola - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 53:227-233.
Is Epistemic Circularity Bad?Matthias Steup - 2013 - Res Philosophica 90 (2):215-235.
Reflective Knowledge and Epistemic Circularity.C. S. I. Jenkins - 2011 - Philosophical Papers 40 (3):305-325.
What Justification Could Not Be.Mark T. Nelson - 2002 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 10 (3):265 – 281.
Epistemic Circularity: Vicious, Virtuous and Benign.John Greco - 2011 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 1 (2):105-112.
In Defense of Epistemic Circularity.David Alexander - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (3):223-241.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-02-05

Total views
1 ( #1,481,817 of 2,439,390 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #433,984 of 2,439,390 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes