Deontological Conservatism and Perceptual Justification

Theoria 83 (3):206-224 (2017)

Hamid Vahid
Institute for Fundamental Sciences
Crispin Wright has advanced a number of arguments to show that, in addition to evidential warrant, we have a species of non-evidential warrant, namely, “entitlement”, which forms the basis of a particular view of the architecture of perceptual justification known as “epistemic conservatism”. It is widely known, however, that Wright's conservative view is beset by a number of problems. In this article, I shall argue that the kind of warrant that emerges from Wright's account is not the standard truth-conducive justification, but what is known as the deontological conception of justification. It will be argued that the deontological justification has features that make it a better candidate for representing a conservative architecture. These results will be reinforced by showing how the deontological framework can make better sense of a recent theory of justified belief that takes its inspiration from Wright's conservative account. Thus understood, we may see the liberalism–conservatism controversy as actually an extension of the older debate over which conception of justification, truth-conducive or deontological, can best represent the epistemic status of our belief-forming practices.
Keywords deontological justification  epistemic conservatism  perceptual justification  scepticism
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DOI 10.1111/theo.12118
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