Personal and doxastic variants of epistemic justification and their roles in the theory of knowledge.
AuthorEngel, Mylan, Jr.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMost epistemologists agree that epistemic justification is required for knowledge. This requirement is usually formulated in one of two ways: (JR1) S knows that p only if S is justified in believing that p. (JR2) S knows that p only if S's belief that p is justified. Surprisingly (JR1) and (JR2) are generally regarded as synonymous formulations of the justification condition. In Chapter 1, I argue that such a synonymy thesis is mistaken and that, in fact, (JR1) and (JR2) specify substantively different requirements. (JR1) requires that the person be justified, whereas (JR2) requires that the belief in question be justified, and intuitively, these constitute different requirements. Thus, it is concluded that (JR1) and (JR2) employ inherently different kinds of epistemic justification in their respective analysantia. I dub them "personal justification" and "doxastic justification", respectively. The remainder of the dissertation is devoted to demonstrating both the legitimacy and the importance of the personal/doxastic justification distinction. For example, the distinction helps account for the divergent intuitions that regularly arise regarding justificatory evaluations in demon-world contexts. In Chapters 2 and 3 I provide analyses for doxastic and personal justification. Chapter 2 spells out an externalist reliabilist account of doxastic justification which safely avoids demon-world counterexamples. Chapter 3 advances an internalist coherence account of personal justification. In defending this coherence theory, I argue that all foundation theories are false and that the regress argument on which they are predicated is unsound. In Chapter 4, I propose an analysis of ordinary knowledge which only requires doxastic justification. Nevertheless personal justification plays a negative, undermining role in the analysis. I then demonstrate that this analysis of knowledge is immune to typical Gettier examples. It also remains unscathed by Harman's beefed-up Gettier cases. Finally, I consider a stronger analysis of knowledge requiring both doxastic and personal justification. Though the latter analysis proves too strong for ordinary knowledge, it remains interesting as an analysis of a more intellectualistic kind of knowledge. The final chapter examines the internalist/externalist controversy and demonstrates that this controversy is yet another manifestation of the personal/doxastic justification conflation.