An argument that internalism requires infallibility

Alan Sidelle
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Most contemporary internalists are fallibilists, denying that there need be anything about which we are infallible for us to have knowledge or justified beliefs. At the same time, internalists standardly appeal to ‘internal twins’ in arguing against externalism and motivating internalism---a Cartesian demon can ruin the ‘external’ relations we have to the world, but one is equally well justified in one’s beliefs whether or not one is subject to such deception. Even if one doesn’t motivate one’s internalism by appeal to internal twins, any internalist must agree that internal twins are equally well justified in their beliefs. I argue that the internal twins argument for, or commitment of internalism, commits one to the claim that the conditions in virtue of which one is justified must be ones about which a believer is infallible. The basic argument is that for anything about which one can be mistaken, one has an internal twin who is mistaken, but is equally well justified---and so, not in virtue of that about which one can be mistaken. If the argument can be resisted, this should tell us something useful about how to properly understand both internalism in general, and the idea of internal twins in particular
Keywords internalism   infallibility   justification   epistemic twins' epistemic luck
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2001.tb00096.x
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