AuthorSenor, Thomas David.
KeywordsJustification (Theory of knowledge)
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMany accounts of epistemic justification are initially plausible as accounts of justifiably coming to believe a proposition, but fail as accounts of continuing to believe a proposition. In this essay, I examine candidate theories of ongoing justification, arguing that those along both coherentist and foundationalist lines are inadequate. First, I argue that coherentism doesn't work by dividing such accounts into negative and positive theories. Negative coherentism fails because of its dependence on the principle of epistemic conservatism, against which there are decisive objections. Positive coherentism is also rejected because one can be justified in continuing to believe a proposition even if one's doxastic corpus fails to entail or make probable or in any way evidentially support the belief. Foundationalism is then considered. According to one sort of foundationalist, an agent is justified in continuing to believe a proposition only if she remembers the original justificatory basis of her belief. This sort of foundationalism suffers a fate similar to that of positive coherentism; it entails that many beliefs, which clearly are justified, are unjustified. Another kind of foundationalism, one that treats memory as a justification conferring process, is considered. This version is inadequate as it fails to account for the historical nature of justification and fails to account for the justification of unactivated mnemonic beliefs. In the essay's final chapter, I argue that the failure of both foundationalism and coherentism indicates that internalistic accounts are hopeless. Finally, a theory of ongoing justification along reliabilist lines is suggested, elaborated, and defended.