AuthorCOHEN, STEWART MARK.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe dissertation is a study of the connection between justification and truth. It presents and critically discusses various ways of construing the connection. A dilemma is argued for to the effect that any construal of the connection is defective, while any theory of epistemic justification that ignores the connection incurs an explanatory deficit. The objective construal of the connection between epistemic justification and truth views such justification as probabilistic. A currently popular version of this view is a theory called Reliabilism. This theory is discussed in terms of both intuitive and purely logical considerations. Another way to cast out the connection between justification and truth is subjectively. It might be claimed that a subject must have beliefs about the connection between his evidence and the truth of the proposition he believes. This approach is characteristic of coderence theories. These theories are assessed with respect to their psychological reality. Since objective and doxastic construals of the connection between epistemic justification and truth fail, theories which eschew a truth connection altogether are discussed. Such an approach is characteristic of foundations theories. It is argued that these theories fail to achieve a level of generality that provides very much insight into the nature of epistemic justification. The final section of the dissertation is a detailed discussion of naturalized epistemology. The stalking horse is Fred Dretske's information-theoretic approach which relies on a very strong truth connection. The lessons of the previous chapters are applied to Dretske's theory demonstrating its inability to account for the normative aspects of epistemic justification.