The Bootstrapping Problem

Philosophy Compass 7 (9):597-610 (2012)

Authors
Jonathan Weisberg
University of Toronto at Mississauga
Abstract
Bootstrapping is a suspicious form of reasoning that verifies a source's reliability by checking it against itself. Theories that endorse such reasoning face the bootstrapping problem. This article considers which theories face the problem, and surveys potential solutions. The initial focus is on theories like reliabilism and dogmatism, which allow one to gain knowledge from a source without knowing that it is reliable. But the discussion quickly turns to a more general version of the problem that does not depend on this allowance. Five potential solutions to the general problem are evaluated, and some implications for the literature on peer disagreement are considered.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2012.00504.x
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
The Skeptic and the Dogmatist.James Pryor - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):517–549.
Reflection and Disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
What's Wrong with Moore's Argument?James Pryor - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):349–378.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

You’Ve Come a Long Way, Bayesians.Jonathan Weisberg - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (6):817-834.
What’s the Matter with Epistemic Circularity?David James Barnett - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (2):177-205.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

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Bootstrapping and the Problem of Testing Quantitative Theoretical Hypotheses.David Grünberg - 2001 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2001:143-150.
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Toward a Defensible Bootstrapping.Sam Mitchell - 1995 - Philosophy of Science 62 (2):241-260.
Why the Generality Problem is Everybody’s Problem.Michael A. Bishop - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):285 - 298.
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