How To Be Conservative: A Partial Defense of Epistemic Conservatism

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):501-514 (2013)
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Abstract

Conservatism about perceptual justification tells us that we cannot have perceptual justification to believe p unless we also have justification to believe that perceptual experiences are reliable. There are many ways to maintain this thesis, ways that have not been sufficiently appreciated. Most of these ways lead to at least one of two problems. The first is an over-intellectualization problem, whereas the second problem concerns the satisfaction of the epistemic basing requirement on justified belief. I argue that there is at least one Conservative view that survives both difficulties, a view which has the further ability to undercut a crucial consideration that has supported Dogmatist views about perceptual justification. The final section explores a tension between Conservatism and the prospects of having a completely general account of propositional justification. Ironically, the problem is that Conservatives seem committed to making the acquisition of propositional justification too easy. My partial defense of Conservatism concludes by suggesting possible solutions to this problem.

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Paul Silva Jr.
University of Cologne

Citations of this work

Merely statistical evidence: when and why it justifies belief.Paul Silva - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (9):2639-2664.
Recent Work on Epistemic Entitlement.Peter Graham & Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen - 2020 - American Philosophical Quarterly 57 (2):193-214.
Does Doxastic Justification Have a Basing Requirement?Paul Silva - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):371-387.

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