In “A Reliabilist Solution to the Problem of Promiscuous Bootstrapping”, Hilary Kornblith (2009) proposes a reliabilist solution to the bootstrapping problem. I’m going to argue that Kornblith’s proposal, far from solving the bootstrapping problem, in fact makes the problem much harder for the reliabilist to solve. Indeed, I’m going to argue that Kornblith’s considerations give us a way to develop a quick reductio of a certain kind of reliabilism. Let’s start with a crude statement of the problem. The bootstrapper, call them S, looks at a device D1 that happens to be reliable, though at this stage S doesn’t know this. We assume that S is a reliable reader of devices. S then draws the following conclusions.
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