Paper Title

[1.3] Good and Bad Reasons to Reject Externalism

Location

IB 1014

Start Date

January 2020

End Date

January 2020

Disciplines

Epistemology | Philosophy

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The debate between internalism and externalism in epistemology concerns one of the traditional conditions for knowledge: justification. Specifically, proponents of these theories seek to understand justification and precisely what confers the justificational status on a belief. Theories of justification are typically characterized as internalist if they hold that all reasons for a belief being justified are cognitively accessible to a person. Externalism represents the rejection of this thesis; defenders of this theory deny that the justifiers must be internal to a believer. In this paper, I present an objection to the externalist account. After describing the internalist and externalist positions, I attempt to show that externalism, broadly construed, allows a person to be justified when they hold beliefs for the wrong reasons, and this indicates a significant problem with the theory. Next, I argue that this kind of objection will not work for more specific articulations of the externalist thesis, such as reliablism. Finally, I argue that such theories must still account for a “good reasons” evaluation of justification, an internalist consideration.

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Jan 18th, 9:00 AM Jan 18th, 10:15 AM

[1.3] Good and Bad Reasons to Reject Externalism

IB 1014

The debate between internalism and externalism in epistemology concerns one of the traditional conditions for knowledge: justification. Specifically, proponents of these theories seek to understand justification and precisely what confers the justificational status on a belief. Theories of justification are typically characterized as internalist if they hold that all reasons for a belief being justified are cognitively accessible to a person. Externalism represents the rejection of this thesis; defenders of this theory deny that the justifiers must be internal to a believer. In this paper, I present an objection to the externalist account. After describing the internalist and externalist positions, I attempt to show that externalism, broadly construed, allows a person to be justified when they hold beliefs for the wrong reasons, and this indicates a significant problem with the theory. Next, I argue that this kind of objection will not work for more specific articulations of the externalist thesis, such as reliablism. Finally, I argue that such theories must still account for a “good reasons” evaluation of justification, an internalist consideration.