Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.502682
Title: Epistemic internalism : an explanation and defense
Author: Madison, Brent James Charles
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Abstract:
What does it take for a positive epistemic status to obtain I argue throughout my thesis that if a positive epistemic status obtains, this is not a brute fact. Instead, if for example a belief is justified, it is justified in virtue of some further condition(s) obtaining. A fundamental topic in epistemology is the question of what sorts of factors can be relevant to determining the positive epistemic status of belief. Epistemic Internalism holds that these factors must be "internal" (in a sense that needs to be specified). Epistemic Externalism is the denial of internalism. My thesis is an explanation and defense of an internalist theory of epistemic justification. The central claim of my thesis is that something is "internal" in this sense only if it is, or can easily be, the object of the agent's conscious awareness. By considering key cases, I show that without an awareness requirement on justification, the subject cannot avoid what I call the Subject's Perspective Objection. In developing this objection I examine and respond to an argument against the awareness requirement which claims that such awareness either leads to a vicious regress of requiring higher order beliefs of increasing complexity (if any beliefs are to be justified), or else requiring such awareness is unmotivated. This regress is generated because it is assumed that the relevant kind of awareness must be doxastic. My solution invokes what I call 'strong non-doxastic awareness' that grounds non-inferential justification and thereby avoids this dilemma, while meeting the Subject's Perspective Objection. I also argue that external factors, such as the reliability (actual or conditional) of the mechanism supporting the belief, are not necessary for justification. I argue for this conclusion by comparing what constitutes justified belief in the actual world with one's counterpart in a 'demon world'. I argue that this intuition, correctly interpreted, counts in favour of internalism. As I explain, many philosophers moved by arguments presented by externalists about mental content deny that such a case is possible. In opposition I argue that the awareness requirement remains substantially unaffected, no matter which view of content turns out to be correct. What is key is that the two worlds are completely subjectively indistinguishable from each other for those who inhabit them in all the ways of which they are consciously aware. If neither the obtaining of truth nor reliability is necessary for epistemic justification, what makes justification genuinely epistemic In the final chapter I argue against recent work that assimilates justification with knowledge, as well as for a positive account of the truth connection. As to the former question, I defend the orthodoxy that they are distinct epistemic statuses as to the latter, I argue that the connection between justification and truth is conceptual. That is, epistemic justification is epistemic because it turns on evidence, evidence is epistemic because it is conceptually linked with truth. Epistemic justification, therefore, is conceptually linked with the truth (via evidence), which is what makes it distinctively epistemic. In short, this thesis is an explanation and defense of an internalist theory of epistemic justification. The central claim of the thesis is that something is "internal" in this sense only if it is, or can easily be, the object of the agent's conscious awareness. I argue that conscious awareness is a necessary condition of epistemic justification obtaining, and that factors external to consciousness play no justificatory role.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.502682  DOI: Not available
Share: