Weak Inferential Internalism

Journal of Philosophical Research 37:357-377 (2012)
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Inferential internalism holds that for one to be inferentially justified in believing P on the basis of E one must be justified in believing that E makes probable P. Inferential internalism has long been accused of generating a vicious regress on inferential justification that has drastic skeptical consequences. However, recently Hookway and Rhoda have defended a more modest form of internalism that avoids this problem. They propose a form of weak inferential internalism according to which internalist conditions are restricted to only certain kinds of inferential justification. In this paper, I clarify and argue against weak internalism. I contend that while weak internalism avoids the vicious regress, it does so at the cost of compromising its internalist credentials. For I show that unless weak internalism makes an arbitrary distinction between individuals who believe for the very same reasons, the view collapses into externalism.



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David J. Alexander
Iowa State University
David Alexander
Huntington University

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