I offer a solution to the generality problem for a reliabilist epistemology, by developing an “algorithm and parameters” scheme for type-individuating cognitive processes. Algorithms are detailed procedures for mapping inputs to outputs. Parameters are psychological variables that systematically affect processing. The relevant process type for a given token is given by the complete algorithmic characterization of the token, along with the values of all the causally relevant parameters. The typing that results is far removed from the typings of folk psychology, (...) and from much of the epistemology literature. But it is principled, empirically grounded, and shows good prospects for yielding the desired epistemological verdicts. I articulate and elaborate the theory, drawing out some of its consequences. Toward the end, I apply the fleshed-out theory to two important case studies: hallucination and cognitive penetration of perception. (shrink)
One attractive feature of process reliabilism is its reductive potential: it promises to explain justification in entirely non-epistemic terms. In this paper, I argue that the phenomenon of epistemic defeat poses a serious challenge for process reliabilism’s reductive ambitions. The standard process reliabilist analysis of defeat is the ‘Alternative Reliable Process Account’ (ARP). According to ARP, whether S’s belief is defeated depends on whether S has certain reliable processes available to her which, if they had been used, would (...) have resulted in S not holding the belief in question. Unfortunately, ARP proves untenable. I show, by way of counterexample, that ARP fails to articulate either necessary or sufficient conditions on defeat. Process reliabilists must either provide an alternative reductive account of defeat or renounce their reductive aspirations. (shrink)
This paper argues that reliabilism can plausibly live without epistemic consequentialism, either as part of a non-consequentialist normative theory or as a non-normative account of knowledge on a par with certain accounts of the metaphysics of perception and action. It argues moreover that reliabilism should not be defended as a consequentialist theory. Its most plausible versions are not aptly dubbed ‘consequentialist' in any sense that genuinely parallels the dominant sense in ethics. Indeed, there is no strong reason to (...) believe reliabilism was ever seriously intended as a form of epistemic consequentialism. At the heart of its original motivation was a concern about the necessity of non-accidentality for knowledge, a concern quite at home in a non-consequentialist or non-normative setting. Reliabilism’s connection to epistemic consequentialism was an accretion of the '80s, and a feature of only one of its formulations in that decade. (shrink)
According to process reliabilism, a belief produced by a reliable belief-forming process is justified. I introduce problems for this theory on any account of reliability. Does the performance of a process in some domain of worlds settle its reliability? The theories that answer “Yes” typically fail to state the temporal parameters of this performance. I argue that any theory paired with any plausible parameters has implausible implications. The theories that answer “No,” I argue, thereby lack essential support and exacerbate (...) familiar problems. There are new reasons to avoid any reliability conditions on justification. (shrink)
Combining active externalism in the form of the extended and distributed cognition hypotheses with virtue reliabilism can provide the long sought after link between mainstream epistemology and philosophy of science. Specifically, by reading virtue reliabilism along the lines suggested by the hypothesis of extended cognition, we can account for scientific knowledge produced on the basis of both hardware and software scientific artifacts. Additionally, by bringing the distributed cognition hypothesis within the picture, we can introduce the notion of epistemic (...) group agents, in order to further account for collective knowledge produced on the basis of scientific research teams. (shrink)
We commonly say that some evidence supports a hypothesis or that some premise evidentially supports a conclusion. Both internalists and externalists attempt to analyze this notion of evidential support, and the primary purpose of this paper is to argue that reliabilist and proper functionalist accounts of this relation fail. Since evidential support is one component of inferential justification, the upshot of this failure is that their accounts of inferential justification also fail. In Sect. 2, I clarify the evidential support relation. (...) In Sects. 3–5, I subject reliabilist and proper functionalist accounts of evidential support to various counterexamples. In Sect. 6, I show that the most promising ways to address these counterexamples aren’t very promising. (shrink)
Stewart Cohen’s New Evil Demon argument raises familiar and widely discussed concerns for reliabilist accounts of epistemic justification. A now standard response to this argument, initiated by Alvin Goldman and Ernest Sosa, involves distinguishing different notions of justification. Juan Comesaña has recently and prominently claimed that his Indexical Reliabilism (IR) offers a novel solution in this tradition. We argue, however, that Comesaña’s proposal suffers serious difficulties from the perspective of the philosophy of language. More specifically, we show that the (...) two readings of sentences involving the word ‘justified’ which are required for Comesaña’s solution to the problem are not recoverable within the two-dimensional framework of Robert Stalnaker to which he appeals. We then consider, and reject, an attempt to overcome this difficulty by appeal to a complication of the theory involving counterfactuals, and conclude the paper by sketching our own preferred solution to Cohen’s New Evil Demon. (shrink)
According to the “no-miracles argument” (NMA), truth is the best explanation of the predictive-instrumental success of scientific theories. A standard objection against NMA is that it is viciously circular. In Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth Stathis Psillos has claimed that the circularity objection can be met when NMA is supplemented with a reliabilist approach to justification. I will try to show, however, that scientific realists cannot take much comfort from this policy: if reliabilism makes no qualifications about the (...) domain where inference to the best explanation is reliable, scientific realists flagrantly beg the question. A qualified version of reliabilism, on the other side, does not entitle us to infer the realist conclusion. I conclude, then, that Psillos’s proposal does not make any significant progress for scientific realism. (shrink)
We propose an approach to epistemic justification that incorporates elements of both reliabilism and evidentialism, while also transforming these elements in significant ways. After briefly describing and motivating the non-standard version of reliabilism that Henderson and Horgan call “transglobal” reliabilism, we harness some of Henderson and Horgan’s conceptual machinery to provide a non-reliabilist account of propositional justification (i.e., evidential support). We then invoke this account, together with the notion of a transglobally reliable belief-forming process, to give an (...) account of doxastic justification. (shrink)
Reliabilism furnishes an account of basic knowledge that circumvents the problem of the given. However, reliabilism and other epistemological theories that countenance basic knowledge have been criticized for permitting all-too-easy higher-level knowledge. In this paper, I describe the problem of easy knowledge, look briefly at proposed solutions, and then develop my own. I argue that the easy knowledge problem, as it applies to reliabilism, hinges on a false and too crude understanding of ‘reliable’. With a more plausible (...) conception of ‘reliable’, a simple and elegant solution emerges. (shrink)
I take issue with Robert Brandom's claim that on an analysis of knowledge based on objective probabilities it is not possible to provide a stable answer to the question whether a belief has the status of knowledge. I argue that the version of the problem of generality developed by Brandom doesn't undermine a truth-tracking account of noninferential knowledge that construes truth-tacking in terms of conditional probabilities. I then consider Sherrilyn Roush's claim that an account of knowledge based on probabilistic tracking (...) faces a version of the problem of generality. I argue that the problems she raises are specific to her account, and do not affect the version of the view that I have advanced. I then consider Brandom's argument that the cases that motivate reliabilist epistemologies are in principle exceptional. I argue that he has failed to make a cogent case for this claim. I close with the suggestion that the representationalist approach to knowledge that I endorse and Brandom rejects is in principle compatible with the kind of pragmatist approach to belief and truth that both Brandom and I endorse. (shrink)
Pretheoretically we hold that we cannot gain justification or knowledge through an epistemically circular reasoning process. Epistemically circular reasoning occurs when a subject forms the belief that p on the basis of an argument A, where at least one of the premises of A already presupposes the truth of p. It has often been argued that process reliabilism does not rule out that this kind of reasoning leads to justification or knowledge. For some philosophers, this is a reason to (...) reject reliabilism. Those who try to defend reliabilism have two basic options: (I) accept that reliabilism does not rule out circular reasoning, but argue that this kind of reasoning is not as epistemically “bad” as it seems, or (II) hold on to the view that circular reasoning is epistemically “bad”, but deny that reliabilism really allows this kind of reasoning. Option (I) has been spelled out in several ways, all of which have found to be problematic. Option (II) has not been discussed very widely. Vogel considers and quickly dismisses it on the basis of three reasons. Weisberg has shown in detail that one of these reasons is unconvincing. In this paper I argue that the other two reasons are unconvincing as well and that therefore option (II) might in fact be a more promising starting point to defend reliabilism than option (I). (shrink)
Alvin Goldman and Erik Olsson have recently proposed a novel solution to the value problem in epistemology, i.e., to the question of how to account for the apparent surplus value of knowledge over mere true belief. Their “conditional probability solution” maintains that even simple process reliabilism can account for the added value of knowledge, since forming true beliefs in a reliable way raises the objective probability that the subject will have more true belief of a similar kind in the (...) future. I argue that this proposal confronts significant internal problems and implicitly invokes higher-level epistemic conditions that run against the spirit of externalism. (shrink)
We reply to Christoph Jäger's criticism of the conditional probability solution (CPS) to the value problem for reliabilism due to Goldman and Olsson (2009). We argue that while Jäger raises some legitimate concerns about the compatibility of CPS with externalist epistemology, his objections do not in the end reduce the plausibility of that solution.
Epistemically circular arguments have been receiving quite a bit of attention in the literature for the past decade or so. Often the goal is to determine whether reliabilists (or other foundationalists) are committed to the legitimacy of epistemically circular arguments. It is often assumed that epistemic circularity is objectionable, though sometimes reliabilists accept that their position entails the legitimacy of some epistemically circular arguments, and then go on to affirm that such arguments really are good ones. My goal in this (...) paper is to argue against the legitimacy of epistemically circular arguments. My strategy is to give a direct argument against the legitimacy of epistemically circular arguments, which rests on a principle of basis-relative safety, and then to argue that reliabilists do not have the resources to resist the argument. I argue that even if the premises of an epistemically circular argument enjoy reliabilist justification, the argument does not transmit that justification to its conclusion. The main goal of my argument is to show that epistemic circularity is always a bad thing, but it also has the positive consequence that reliabilists are freed from an awkward commitment to the legitimacy of some intuitively bad arguments. (shrink)
Human subjects seem to have a type of introspective access to their mental states that allows them to immediately judge the types and intensities of their occurrent emotions, as well as what those emotions are about or “directed at”. Such judgments manifest what I call “emotion-direction beliefs”, which, if reliably produced, may constitute emotion-direction knowledge. Many psychologists have argued that the “directed emotions” such beliefs represent have a componential structure, one that includes feelings of emotional responses and related but independent (...) representations of what those feelings are about. I argue that such componentiality may help to explain how emotion-direction knowledge is achievable. I begin by developing a hybrid view of introspection that combines David Chalmers’ phenomenal realism with Alvin Goldman’s “partial redeployment” account of meta-belief content. I then provide a process-reliabilist account of introspectively gained emotion-direction knowledge that outlines the minimum conditions of reliably forming emotion-direction beliefs, and specifies several ways in which the warrant of such beliefs could be defeated by relevant counterfactual alternatives. The overall account suggests how distinct introspective processes might be epistemically synergistic. (shrink)
According to the thought experiment most commonly used to argue against reliabilism, Mr. Truetemp is given an unusual but reliable cognitive faculty. Since he is unaware of the existence of this faculty, its deliverances strike him as rather odd. Many think that Truetemp would not have justified beliefs. Since he satisfies the reliabilist conditions for justified belief, reliabilism appears to be mistaken. I argue that the Truetemp case is underdescribed and that this leads readers to make erroneous assumptions (...) about Truetemp's epistemic situation. After examining empirical studies of actual subjects who, like Truetemp, have received new perceptual faculties, I show that Truetemp must have been endowed with all of the reorganized neural circuitry and cognitive skills that subjects with new perceptual faculties normally acquire during a long and difficult process of adaptation and development. When readers realize how much more the designers of Truetemp's new faculty had to do than simply slip an artificial device under Truetemp's scalp, I find that they no longer think his beliefs would be unjustified. Because the thought experiment fails to support anti-reliabilist intuitions when further details of the case are made explicit, the Truetemp thought experiment does not constitute a clear and decisive counterexample to reliabilism. (shrink)
Goldman and Olsson ( 2009 ) have responded to the common charge that reliabilist theories of knowledge are incapable of accounting for the value knowledge has beyond mere true belief. We examine their “conditional probability solution” in detail, and show that it does not succeed. The conditional probability relation is too weak to support instrumental value, and the specific relation they describe is inessential to the value of knowledge. At best, they have described conditions in which knowledge indicates that additional (...) epistemic value is likely to be forthcoming in the future. We also argue that their motive analogy breaks down. The problem, we conclude, is that being produced by a reliable process is not sufficient for a belief to be justified. (shrink)
Matthew Frise claims that reliabilist theories of justification have a temporality problem—the problem of providing a principled account of the temporal parameters of a process’s performance that determine whether that process is reliable at a given time. Frise considers a representative sample of principled temporal parameters and argues that there are serious problems with all of them. He concludes that the prospects for solving the temporality problem are bleak. Importantly, Frise argues that the temporality problem constitutes a new reason to (...) reject reliabilism. On this point, I argue that Frise is mistaken. There are serious interpretive difficulties with Frise’s argument. In this essay, I show that there are principled and reasonable temporal parameters for the reliabilist to adopt that successfully undermine the interpretations of Frise’s argument that only invoke plausible premises. There are interpretations of Frise’s argument that leave reliabilism without a clear parameter solution. However, I argue that these interpretations invoke controversial premises that are at best unmotivated, and at worst they merely re-raise older disputes about reliabilism. In any event, the temporality problem fails to constitute a new reason to reject reliabilism. (shrink)
: Duncan Pritchard has recently highlighted the problem of veritic epistemic luck and claimed that a safety‐based account of knowledge succeeds in eliminating veritic luck where virtue‐based accounts and process reliabilism fail. He then claims that if one accepts a safety‐based account, there is no longer a motivation for retaining a commitment to reliabilism. In this article, I delineate several distinct safety principles, and I argue that those that eliminate veritic luck do so only if at least implicitly (...) committed to reliabilism. (shrink)
This paper defends reliabilism against the classic demon world victim thought experiment. In doing so, I underscore two of its key alleged intuitions. I then articulate a host of varied responses open to the reliabilist, arguing that these readily available responses provide the reliabilist with a way to either accommodate or reject these initial intuitions about the demon world victim thought experiment, and in a way consistent with reliabilism. Thus, I conclude that the demon world thought experiment does (...) not undercut reliability as the hallmark of epistemic justification. (shrink)
Reliabilism is invoked by a standard causal response to the slow switching argument for incompatibilism about mental content externalism and privileged access. Though the response in question is negative, in that it only establishes that, given such an epistemology, externalism does not rule privileged access out, the appeal to reliabilism involves an assumption about the reliability of introspection, an assumption that in turn grounds a simple argument for the positive conclusion that reliabilism itself implies privileged access. This (...) paper offers a two-part defense of that conclusion: the reliabilist account of privileged access is defended both againstarguments in favor of the rival content inheritance strategy and against an argument turning on empirical considerations concerning the individuation of the belief-producing process of introspection. (shrink)
Mathematical apriorism holds that mathematical truths must be established using a priori processes. Against this, it has been argued that apparently a priori mathematical processes can, under certain circumstances, fail to warrant the beliefs they produce; this shows that these warrants depend on contingent features of the contexts in which they are used. They thus cannot be a priori. -/- In this paper I develop a position that combines a reliabilist version of mathematical apriorism with a platonistic view of mathematical (...) ontology. I argue that this view both withstands the above objection and explains the reliability of a priori mathematical warrant. (shrink)
In this article I examine several issues concerning reliabilism and deflationism. I critique Alvin Goldman's account of the key differences between correspondence and deflationary theories and his claim that reliabilism can be combined only with those truth theories that maintain a commitment to truthmakers. I then consider how reliability could be analysed from a deflationary perspective and show that deflationism is compatible with reliabilism. I close with a discussion of whether a deflationary theory of knowledge is possible.
The No-Miracles Argument (NMA) is often used to support scientific realism. We can formulate this argument as an inference to the best explanation this accusation of circularity by appealing to reliabilism, an externalist epistemology. In this paper I argue that this retreat fails. Reliabilism suffers from a potentially devastating difficulty known as the Generality Problem and attempts to solve this problem require adopting both epistemic and metaphysical assumptions regarding local scientific theories. Although the externalist can happily adopt the (...) former, if he adopts the latter then the Generality Problem arises again, but now at the level of scientific methodology. Answering this new version of the Generality Problem is impossible for the scientific realist without making the important further assumption that there exists the possibility of a unique rule of Doing this however would make the NMA viciously premise circular. (shrink)
The lottery problem is often regarded as a successful counterexample to reliabilism. The process of forming your true belief that your ticket has lost solely on the basis of considering the odds is, from a purely probabilistic viewpoint, much more reliable than the process of forming a true belief that you have lost by reading the results in a normally reliable newspaper. Reliabilism thus seems forced, counterintuitively, to count the former process as knowledge if it so counts the (...) latter process. -/- I offer a theory of empirical knowledge which, while being recognizably reliabilist, restricts empirical knowledge to cases in which the fact that p and the belief that p are causally connected. I show that this form of reliabilism solves the lottery problem, avoids the problems that beset the causal theory of knowledge, and show how it handles a number of problematic cases in the recent literature. (shrink)
In some recent work, Ernest Sosa rejects the “perceptual model” of rational intuition, according to which intuitive beliefs (e.g., that ) are justified by standing in the appropriate relation to a nondoxastic intellectual experience (a seeming-true, or the like), in much the way that perceptual beliefs are often held to be justified by an appropriate relation to nondoxastic sense experiential states. By extending some of Sosa’s arguments and adding a few of my own, I argue that Sosa is right to (...) reject the perceptual model of intuition, and that we should reject the “perceptual model” of perception as well. Rational intuition and perception should both receive a virtue theoretic (e.g., reliabilist) account, rather than an evidentialist one. To this end, I explicitly argue against the Grounds Principle, which holds that all justified beliefs must be based on some adequate reason, or ground. (shrink)
Contemporary epistemologists typically define a priori justification as justification that is independent of sense experience. However, sense experience plays at least some role in the production of many paradigm cases of a priori justified belief. This raises the question of when experience is epistemically relevant to the justificatory status of the belief that is based on it. In this paper, I will outline the answers that can be given by the two currently dominant accounts of justification, i.e. evidentialism and (...) class='Hi'>reliabilism. While for the evidentialist, experience is epistemically relevant only if it is used as evidence, the reliabilist requires that the reliability of the relevant process depends on the reliability of experiential processes. I will argue that the reliabilist account accommodates our pre-theoretic classifications much better. In the final part of my paper I will use the reliabilist criterion to defend the a priori—a posteriori distinction against recent challenges by Hawthorne and Williamson. (shrink)
This paper argues that reliabilism can handle Gettier cases once it restricts knowledge producing reliable processes to those that involve a suitable causal link between the subject’s belief and the fact it references. Causal tracking reliabilism (as this version of reliabilism is called) also avoids the problems that refuted the causal theory of knowledge, along with problems besetting more contemporary theories (such as virtue reliabilism and the “safety” account of knowledge). Finally, causal tracking reliabilism allows (...) for a response to Linda Zagzebski’s challenge that no theory of knowledge can both eliminate the possibility of Gettier cases while also allowing fully warranted but false beliefs. (shrink)
Process reliabilism says that a belief is justified iff the belief-forming process that produced it is sufficiently reliable. But any token belief-forming process is an instance of a number of different belief-forming process types. The problem of specifying the relevant type is known as the ‘generality problem’ for process reliabilism. This paper proposes a broadly relativist solution to the generality problem. The thought is that the relevant belief-forming process type is relative to the context. While the basic idea (...) behind the solution is from Mark Heller (1995), the solution defended here departs from Heller on a crucial point. Because of this departure, my solution avoids a serious problem with Heller’s solution. (shrink)
An unadorned form of process reliabilism (UPR) contends that knowledge is true belief, produced by a reliable process, undefeated by a more reliable process. There is no requirement that one know that one’s belief meets this requirement; that it actually does so is sufficient. An integral aspect of UPR, then, is the rejection of the KK thesis. One popular method of showing the implausibility of UPR is to specify a case where a subject satisfies all of UPR’s conditions on (...) knowledge but “clearly” fails to know. Since the subject satisfies all of UPR’s conditions on knowledge, but fails to know, the conditions for knowledge are not as UPR maintains. UPR’s analysis, it is alleged, leaves something out. That something is usually taken to be that the subject lacks appropriate evidence for his belief. This is the internalist counterexample to UPR. In this paper I argue that the internalist counterexample fails to refute UPR. (shrink)
Reliabilism suffers from a problem with long sequences of justifications. The theory of justification provided in process reliabilism allows for an implausibly large extension of ‘justified belief’. According to process reliabilist theory, it is possible that a justifying cognitive process has an arbitrarily low probability of being successful and a justified belief an arbitrarily low probability of being true. This result violates reliabilism’s aims as well as our ordinary standards of justification.
A satisfying theory of knowledge has to explain why knowledge seems to be better than mere true belief. In this paper, I try to show that the best reliabilist explanation (ERA+) is still not able to solve this problem. According to an already elaborated answer (ERA), it is better to possess knowledge that p because this makes likely that one’s future belief of a similar kind will also be true. I begin with a metaphysical comment which gives birth to ERA (...) +, a better formulation of ERA. Then, I raise two objections against ERA+. The first objection shows that the truth of the reliabilist answer requires the conception of a specific theory of instrumental value. In the second objection, I present an example in order to show that ERA+ actually fails to explain why it is better to possess knowledge than a mere true belief. (shrink)
Unadorned process reliabilism (hereafter UPR) takes any true belief produced by a reliable process (undefeated by any other reliable process) to count as knowledge. Consequently, according to UPR, to know p, you need not know that you know it. In particular, you need not know that the process by which you formed your belief was reliable; its simply being reliable is enough to make the true belief knowledge. -/- Defenders of UPR are often presented with purported counterexamples describing subjects (...) who have true beliefs resulting from reliable (and undefeated) processes, but whom we do not intuitively take to know the propositions that they believe (call this “the internalist objection”). Mark McEvoy has recently challenged such arguments claiming (1) that the internalist objection against UPR simply begs the question against it, and (2) our intuitions about cases structurally similar to the standard examples characteristic of the internalist objection are actually often in line with UPR. In what follows I’ll argue that the plausibility of (1) depends on McEvoy’s success in establishing (2), but with the level of description provided, (2) seems undermotivated. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga’s theory of knowledge, as developed in his Warrant trilogy, has shaped the debates surrounding many areas in epistemology in profound ways. Plantinga has received his share of criticism, however, particularly in his treatment of belief in God as being “properly basic”. There has also been much confusion surrounding his notions of warrant and proper function, to which Plantinga has responded numerous times. Many critics remain unsatisfied, while others have developed alternative understandings of warrant in order to rescue Plantinga’s (...) theory from certain objections. The most promising of such attempts fall under the broad category of “virtue epistemology” or a “virtue-theoretic” approach. The work being done in virtue epistemology is still in its early stages and a consensus on what actually constitutes virtue epistemology has yet to be reached. While some have attempted to structure an entire theory of knowledge based on the virtues possessed by the knower, others have focused more on the role of epistemic virtues as an attempt to supplement existing theories, including Plantinga’s. In this paper, I will offer an analysis of what such an attempt might look like and evaluate the potential success of broadening Plantinga’s original model. -/- My proposal is that certain features of a virtue-theoretic approach (also referred to as “agent-reliabilism”) could improve Plantinga’s model in significant ways. Not only would such a broadened approach be better equipped to handle common objections, but it would also be better suited to contribute an enhanced understanding of the task of epistemology, one that seeks to discover multiple epistemic goods other than what has been traditionally confined to the realm of knowledge. I conclude by applying this approach to Plantinga’s treatment of theistic belief in Warranted Christian Belief and by articulating a few of the ways in which epistemic virtues can increase the degree of warrant enjoyed by such belief. (shrink)
This book revives inductive logic by bringing out the underlying epistemology. The resulting structural reliabilist theory propounds the view that justification supervenes on syntactic and semantic properties of sentences as justification-bearers. It is claimed to set up a genuine alternative to the prevailing theories of justification. Kawalec substantiates this claim by confronting structural reliabilism with a number of epistemological problems. While the book is addressed to both professionals and students of philosophical logic, probability, epistemology, and philosophy of science, it (...) also surveys ideas central to the development of philosophy in the 20th century. It will be a valuable companion to multifarious graduate and postgraduate courses. (shrink)
The following three propositions appear to be individually defensible but jointly inconsistent: (1) reliability is a necessary condition on epistemic justification; (2) on contested matters in philosophy, my beliefs are not reliably formed; (3) some of these beliefs are epistemically justified. I explore the nature and scope of the problem, examine and reject some candidate solutions, compare the issue with ones arising in discussions about disagreement, and offer a brief assessment of our predicament.
According to epistemic internalism, the only facts that determine the justificational status of a belief are facts about the subject’s own mental states, like beliefs and experiences. Externalists instead hold that certain external facts, such as facts about the world or the reliability of a belief-producing mechanism, affect a belief’s justificational status. Some internalists argue that considerations about evil demon victims and brains in vats provide excellent reason to reject externalism: because these subjects are placed in epistemically unfavorable settings, externalism (...) seems unable to account for the strong intuition that these subjects’ beliefs are nonetheless justified. I think these considerations do not at all help the internalist cause. I argue that by appealing to the anti-individualistic nature of perception, it can be shown that skeptical scenarios provide no reason to prefer internalism to externalism. (shrink)
Process reliabilists hold that in order for a belief to be justified, it must result from a reliable cognitive process. They also hold that a belief can be basically justified: justified in this manner without having any justification to believe that belief is reliably produced. Fumerton (1995), Vogel (2000), and Cohen (2002) have objected that such basic justification leads to implausible easy justification by means of either epistemic closure principles or so-called track record arguments. I argue that once we carefully (...) distinguish closure principles from transmission principles, and epistemic consequences from epistemic preconditions, neither version of this objection succeeds. (shrink)
I consider whether one particular anti-individualist claim, the doctrine of object-dependent thoughts (DODT), is compatible with the Principle of Privileged Access, or PPA, which states that, in general, a subject can have non-empirical knowledge of her thought contents. The standard defence of the compatibility of anti-individualism and PPA emphasises the reliability of the process which produces a subject's second order beliefs about her thought contents. I examine whether this defence can be applied to DODT, given that DODT generates the possibility (...) of illusions of thought. Drawing on general epistemological literature, I distinguish several senses of reliability, and argue that in the relevant sense-'global reliability'-DODT does sometimes threaten reliability and hence PPA. (shrink)
David Henderson and Terry Horgan argue that doxastic epistemic justification requires the transglobal reliability of the belief-forming process. Transglobal reliability is reliability across a wide range of experientially possible global environments. Focusing on perception, I argue that justification does not require transglobal reliability, for perception is non-accidentally reliable and confers justification but not always transglobally reliable. Transglobal reliability is an epistemically desirable property of belief-forming processes, but not necessary for justification.
It is alleged that the causal inertness of abstract objects and the causal conditions of certain naturalized epistemologies precludes the possibility of mathematical know- ledge. This paper rejects this alleged incompatibility, while also maintaining that the objects of mathematical beliefs are abstract objects, by incorporating a naturalistically acceptable account of ‘rational intuition.’ On this view, rational intuition consists in a non-inferential belief-forming process where the entertaining of propositions or certain contemplations results in true beliefs. This view is free of any (...) conditions incompatible with abstract objects, for the reason that it is not necessary that S stand in some causal relation to the entities in virtue of which p is true. Mathematical intuition is simply one kind of reliable process type, whose inputs are not abstract numbers, but rather, contemplations of abstract numbers. (shrink)
This paper reviews two skeptical arguments and argues that a reliabilist framework is necessary to avoid them. The paper also argues that agent reliabilism, which makes the knower the seat of reliability, is the most plausible version of reliabilism.
According to Selim Berker the prevalence of consequentialism in contemporary epistemology rivals its prevalence in contemporary ethics. Similarly, and more to the point, Berker finds epistemic consequentialism, epitomized by process reliabilism, to be as misguided and problematic as ethical consequentialism. This paper shows how Berker misconstrues process reliabilism and fails to pinpoint any new or substantial defects in it.