Radical Externalism

Philosophical Review 129 (3):395-431 (2020)
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Abstract

This article presents a novel challenge to epistemic internalism. The challenge rests on a set of cases which feature subjects forming beliefs under conditions of “bad ideology”—that is, conditions in which pervasively false beliefs have the function of sustaining, and are sustained by, systems of social oppression. In such cases, the article suggests, the externalistic view that justification is in part a matter of worldly relations, rather than the internalistic view that justification is solely a matter of how things stand from the agent’s individual perspective, becomes the more intuitively attractive theory. But these “bad ideology” cases do not merely yield intuitive verdicts that favor externalism over internalism. These cases are, moreover, analogous to precisely those canonical cases widely taken to be counterexamples to externalism: cases featuring brains-in-vats, clairvoyants, and dogmatists. That is, such “bad ideology” cases are, in all relevant respects, just like cases that are thought to count against externalism—except that they intuitively favor externalism. This, the author argues, is a serious worry for internalism. What is more, it bears on the debate over whether externalism is a genuinely “normative” epistemology.

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Author's Profile

Amia Srinivasan
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Epistemology.Matthias Steup - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Evidence and Bias.Nick Hughes - forthcoming - In Clayton Littlejohn & Maria Lasonen Aarnio (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence.
Who's Afraid Of Epistemic Dilemmas?Nick Hughes - forthcoming - In Scott Stapleford, Mathias Steup & Kevin McCain (eds.), Epistemic Dilemmas: New Arguments, New Angles.
Faith and Epistemology.Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa - 2020 - Episteme 17 (1):121-140.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Epistemology and Cognition.Alvin Ira Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.

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