Considering Certification

Philosophy East and West 73 (2):486-498 (2023)
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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Considering CertificationAnand Jayprakash Vaidya (bio)Jewel of Reflection on the Truth about Epistemology: A Complete and Annotated Translation of the Tattva-cintā-maṇi. Volume 1, Perception. Volume 2, Inference. Translated by Stephen Phillips. London: Bloomsbury.I. IntroductionStephen Phillips' Jewel of Reflection on the Truth about Epistemology is a masterful translation and commentary on the books originally written by Gaṅgeśa, the fourteenth-century father of the Navya-Nyāya tradition of Indian philosophy. Jewel is one of the most highly regarded works in Indian epistemology, one that rivals the work of Immanuel Kant in terms of its depth and significance. While J. N. Mohanty (1966) and B. K. Matilal (1968) translated portions of Gaṅgeśa's Jewel, only Phillips (2020) offers a complete translation—one that will serve as the foundation for any future study of Gaṅgeśa. In what follows, I will not be focusing on issues of translation or interpretation pertaining to the text. Rather, I will be engaging Phillips' account of Gaṅgeśa (hereafter Phillips) with the aim of bringing Gaṅgeśa's Jewel into contact with a debate in contemporary epistemology. I believe Gaṅgeśa's distinction between perceptual knowledge and certification has a lot to offer contemporary epistemology.The point of departure for my engagement with Phillips is the debate over internalism and externalism about knowledge.1 One account of the debate is that there is a disagreement over whether the KK principle is true. The KK principle states that when x knows that p, x knows that x knows that p. Internalists hold that knowledge is a wholly internal affair, and thus they accept the KK principle. More specifically, awareness internalists hold that x knows that p only when x is also aware of x's knowledge basis for p. By contrast, access internalists hold a weaker claim: x knows that p only when x can become aware, by reflection, of x's knowledge basis for p. Externalists typically deny some version of the KK principle. On one version of externalism, knowledge is justified true belief + some anti luck condition, and to have a justified true belief is for the belief to be formed on the basis of a reliable belief-forming process whether or not the subject knows anything about the workings of the belief-forming process. Externalists hold [End Page 486] that x can know that p, without having any reflective access to the knowledge basis for p.2 However, some analytic philosophers object to the internalismexternalism debate. In a now classic set of essays, Tyler Burge (1993, 2003) moves around the internalism-externalism debate by drawing a distinction between two types of warrant: entitlement and justification—where entitlement plays an externalist role, and justification plays an internalist role.The internalism-externalism distinction does not exist in Indian epistemology. In Indian epistemology, there is a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic validity. This distinction only superficially resembles the internalism-externalism contrast found in the analytic tradition.3 Just as Indian epistemologists did not draw the distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge, they also did not draw the distinction between justification being a wholly internal affair versus justification being a wholly external affair.Can the absence of the internalism-externalism debate in classical Indian epistemology be used to draw an alternative map of epistemic relations, one that competes with Burge's distinction between entitlement and justification? Stephen Phillips' (2012) work on Nyāya epistemology in combination with his translation and commentary on Jewel allows for an opportunity to explore this question. In section II, I present Burge's account of the dual warrants of entitlement and justification. In section III, I present Phillips' account of perceptual knowledge and certified knowledge. In section IV, I use both theories to analyze a case of perceptual knowledge. In section V, I turn to a comparative analysis of Burge's and Phillips' views, to open up the issue for further debate and discussion.II. Tyler Burge on Entitlement and JustificationIn his 1993 and 2003 articles Burge offers an alternative way of seeing the internalism-externalism debate about justification. In his 1993 work he distinguishes between justification...



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Anand Vaidya
San Jose State University

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