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Title: Epistemic principles, epistemic circularity and the ultimate epistemic goal
Author: Fernandez, Miguel Angel
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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In this work we investigate the feasibility of the project of showing that a certain kind of generalisations that philosophers call 'Epistemic Principles', which state conditions for the achievement of epistemic goods such as justifications and entitlements, fulfil general conditions for their correctness. First, we identify the veritistic commitments underlying the project it is argued that some common interpretations of such commitments are mistaken and a minimal interpretation of them is outlined. The minimal interpretation is then defended against some charges of explanatory deficits. We explicate how the project of showing that an epistemic principle is correct is motivated and constrained by the veritistic commitments expounded in the first chapter. Then we show how a form of epistemic circularity constitutes a major obstacle for that project. We discuss several forms of circularity and argue that only one of them threatens the project, we explain the exact nature of the obstacle it poses for the project. Then we examine various strategies that attempt to avert the obstacle some by freeing the project from the veritistic commitments that constrain it, others by constructing an allegedly apriori way of carrying out the project, without giving up its initial veritistic commitments, and still another by reconceptualising the very explanatory goal of the project. All of them are examined in detail and found unsatisfactory. However, it is argued that the doubt that our results cast on the feasibility of the project does not warrant a generalised pessimism about the possibility of obtaining philosophical knowledge concerning epistemic principles, for the results that sustain that doubt constitute themselves knowledge of epistemic principles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available