In Defense of Epistemic Circularity

Acta Analytica 26 (3):223-241 (2011)
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In this paper I defend epistemic circularity by arguing that the “No Self-Support” principle (NSS) is false. This principle, ultimately due to Fumerton ( 1995 ), states that one cannot acquire a justified belief in the reliability of a source of belief by trusting that very source. I argue that NSS has the skeptical consequence that the trustworthiness of all of our sources ultimately depends upon the trustworthiness of certain fundamental sources – sources that we cannot justifiably believe to be reliable. This is a problem, I claim, because if the trustworthiness of all of our sources depends upon sources that we should not believe to be reliable, then a reflective individual should not trust any of his sources at all. The hidden cost of rejecting epistemic circularity is thus the unacceptable skeptical thesis that reflective individuals like you and I have no justified beliefs whatsoever



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David J. Alexander
Iowa State University

References found in this work

In Defense of Pure Reason.Laurence BonJour - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
What's wrong with Moore's argument?James Pryor - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):349–378.
Basic knowledge and the problem of easy knowledge.Stewart Cohen - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (2):309-329.

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