In Defense of Weak Inferential Internalism

Journal of Philosophical Research 37:379-385 (2012)
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Abstract

David Alexander has argued that “weak inferential internalism” (WII), a position which amounts to a qualified endorsement of Richard Fumerton’s controversial “principle of inferential justification,” is subject to a fatal dilemma: Either it collapses into externalism or it must make an arbitrary epistemic distinction between persons who believe the same proposition for the same reasons. In this paper, I argue that the dilemma is a false one, for weak inferential internalism does not entail internalism simpliciter. Indeed, WII is compatible with modest externalism, and so is consistent with what Armstrong calls “Type II justification,” the rejection of which leads to the arbitrary epistemic distinctions to which he rightly objects.

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