Deontologism and Internalism in Epistemology

Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara (1999)

H. Benjamin Shaeffer
Humboldt State University
There are two ways of interpreting the question: Under what conditions is a belief epistemically justified? For the deontologist, the justificatory status of a belief depends upon whether the person holding the belief is justified; for the non deontologist, on the other hand, the belief's justificatory status can be evaluated independently of the subject's justificatory status. I argue that both conceptions of epistemic justification are philosophically important. ;I defend the following version of deontologism: For any doxastic attitude D and any epistemic subject S, S is justified in having D iff S's adopting D is in conformance with S's epistemic duties. ;What is the relationship, if any, between deontologism with regard to epistemic justification and epistemological internalism, which is the view that anything which bears on the justificatory status of a belief must be some thing cognitively accessible to the person holding the belief? Perspectival Internalism, which is the View that only the subject's justified beliefs are relevant to the justificatory status of the subject's belief that p, is not implied by deontologism and is self-refuting, insofar as it implies that one is never epistemically responsible in adopting any beliefs whatsoever. This implication is at odds with the pursuit of our epistemic goal, which is the possession of a system of beliefs that contains all and only true beliefs. Access Internalism, on the other hand, holds that the subject's beliefs, justified beliefs, knowledge, memories, and experiences can contribute to the justificatory status of the subject's belief that p. Access Internalism is consistent with . I defend Access Internalism against criticisms by William Alston and John Greco
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