The internalism-externalism debate is one of the oldest debates in epistemology. Internalists assert that the justification of our beliefs can only depend on facts internal to us, while externalists insist that justification can depend on additional, for example environmental, factors. Clayton Littlejohn proposes and defends a new strategy for resolving this debate. Focussing on the connections between practical and theoretical reason, he explores the question of whether the priority of the good to the right might be used to (...) defend an epistemological version of consequentialism, and proceeds to formulate a new 'deontological externalist' view. On this view, the justificatory status of a belief depends upon whether it is fit for the purposes of practical reasoning. Only beliefs that meet externalist standards are fit for such a purpose. If we want to understand how a wide range of norms (e.g., moral norms) apply to rational agents regardless of what their evidence or outlook is like, we have to embrace an externalist account of the justification. (shrink)
An argument that takes issue with the contemporary epistemological consensus that justification is distinct from knowledge, proposing instead that justified belief simply is knowledge, and arguing in detail that a belief is justified when ...
The New Evil Demon problem has been hotly debated since the case was introduced in the early 1980’s (e.g. Lehrer and Cohen 1983; Cohen 1984), and there seems to be recent increased interest in the topic. In a forthcoming collection of papers on the New Evil Demon problem (Dutant and Dorsch, forthcoming), at least two of the papers, both by prominent epistemologists, attempt to resist the problem by appealing to the distinction between justification and excuses. My primary aim here (...) is to critically evaluate this new excuse maneuver as a response to the New Evil Demon problem. -/- Their response attempts to give us reason to reject the idea that victims of the New Evil Demon have justification for believing as they do. I shall argue that this approach is ultimately unsuccessful, however much of value can be learned from these attempts. In particular, progress in the debate can be made by following those who advance the excuse maneuver and make explicit the connection between epistemic justification and epistemic norms. By doing so, the questions being debated are clarified, as is the methodology being used to attempt to answer them. (shrink)
This chapter is guided by the hypothesis that the point and purpose of using the concept of justification in epistemic evaluation is tied to its role in the practice of critical reflection. In section one, I propose an analysis of justification as the epistemic property in virtue of which a belief has the potential to survive ideal critical reflection. In section two, I use this analysis in arguing for a form of access internalism on which one has (...) class='Hi'>justification to believe a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. In section three, I distinguish between propositional and doxastic versions of access internalism and argue that the propositional version avoids familiar objections to the doxastic version. In section four, I argue that the propositional version of access internalism also explains and vindicates internalist intuitions about cases. In section five, I conclude with some reflections on the relationship between critical reflection, responsibility and personhood. (shrink)
A vital and underappreciated dimension of social interaction is the way individuals justify their actions to others, instinctively drawing on their experience to appeal to principles they hope will command respect. Individuals, however, often misread situations, and many disagreements can be explained by people appealing, knowingly and unknowingly, to different principles. On Justification is the first English translation of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot's ambitious theoretical examination of these phenomena, a book that has already had a huge impact on (...) French sociology and is likely to have a similar influence in the English-speaking world. In this foundational work of post-Bourdieu sociology, the authors examine a wide range of situations where people justify their actions. The authors argue that justifications fall into six main logics exemplified by six authors: civic (Rousseau), market (Adam Smith), industrial (Saint-Simon), domestic (Bossuet), inspiration (Augustine), and fame (Hobbes). The authors show how these justifications conflict, as people compete to legitimize their views of a situation. On Justification is likely to spark important debates across the social sciences. (shrink)
According to a traditional Cartesian epistemology of perception, perception does not provide one with direct knowledge of the external world. Instead, your immediate perceptual evidence is limited to facts about your own visual experience, from which conclusions about the external world must be inferred. Cartesianism faces well-known skeptical challenges. But this chapter argues that any anti-Cartesian view strong enough to avoid these challenges must license a way of updating one’s beliefs in response to anticipated experiences that seems diachronically irrational. To (...) avoid this result, the anti-Cartesian must either license an unacceptable epistemic chauvinism, or else claim that merely reflecting on one’s experiences defeats perceptual justification. This leaves us with a puzzle: Although Cartesianism faces problems, avoiding them brings a new set of problems. (shrink)
This paper critically examines currently influential transparency accounts of our knowledge of our own beliefs that say that self-ascriptions of belief typically are arrived at by “looking outward” onto the world. For example, one version of the transparency account says that one self-ascribes beliefs via an inference from a premise to the conclusion that one believes that premise. This rule of inference reliably yields accurate self-ascriptions because you cannot infer a conclusion from a premise without believing the premise, and so (...) you cannot infer from a premise that you believe the premise unless you do believe it. I argue that this procedure cannot be a source of justification, however, because one can be justified in inferring from p that q only if p amounts to strong evidence that q is true. This is incompatible with the transparency account because p often is not very strong evidence that you believe that p. For example, unless you are a weather expert, the fact that it will rain is not very strong evidence that you believe it will rain. After showing how this intuitive problem can be made precise, I conclude with a broader lesson about the nature of inferential justification: that beliefs, when justified, must be underwritten by beliefs, when justified, must be underwritten by evidential relationships between the facts or propositions which those beliefs represent. (shrink)
A central issue in epistemology concerns the connection between truth and justification. The burden of our paper is to explain this connection. Reliabilism, defended by Goldman, assumes that the connection is one of reliability. We argue that this assumption is too strong. We argue that foundational theories, such as those articulated by Pollock and Chisholm fail to elucidate the connection. We consider the potentiality of coherence theories to explain the truth connection by means of higher level convictions about probabilities, (...) which we call doxastic ascent, and defend such a theory. Our defense appeals to the work of Reid and contemporary cognitive psychology in order to account for the psychological reality of higher level evaluations. (shrink)
In his influential book, The Nature of Morality, Gilbert Harman writes: “In explaining the observations that support a physical theory, scientists typically appeal to mathematical principles. On the other hand, one never seems to need to appeal in this way to moral principles.” What is the epistemological relevance of this contrast, if genuine? This chapter argues that ethicists and philosophers of mathematics have misunderstood it. They have confused what the chapter calls the justificatory challenge for realism about an area, D—the (...) challenge to justify our D-beliefs—with the reliability challenge for D-realism—the challenge to explain the reliability of our D-beliefs. Harman’s contrast is relevant to the first, but not, evidently, to the second. One upshot of the discussion is that genealogical debunking arguments are fallacious. Another is that indispensability considerations cannot answer the Benacerraf–Field challenge for mathematical realism. (shrink)
Transmission of justification across inference is a valuable and indeed ubiquitous epistemic phenomenon in everyday life and science. It is thanks to the phenomenon of epistemic transmission that inferential reasoning is a means for substantiating predictions of future events and, more generally, for expanding the sphere of our justified beliefs or reinforcing the justification of beliefs that we already entertain. However, transmission of justification is not without exceptions. As a few epistemologists have come to realise, more or (...) less trivial forms of circularity can prevent justification from transmitting from p to q even if one has justification for p and one is aware of the inferential link from p to q. In interesting cases this happens because one can acquire justification for p only if one has independent justification for q. In this case the justification for q cannot depend on the justification for p and the inferential link from p to q, as genuine transmission would require. The phenomenon of transmission failure seems to shed light on philosophical puzzles, such as Moore's proof of a material world and McKinsey's paradox, and it plays a central role in various philosophical debates. For this reason it is being granted continued and increasing attention. (shrink)
David Lewis is associated with the controversial thesis that some properties are more eligible than others to be the referents of our predicates solely in virtue of those properties’ being more natural; independently, that is, of anything to do with our patterns of usage of the relevant predicates. On such a view, the natural properties act as ‘reference magnets’. In this paper I explore (though I do not endorse) a related thesis in epistemology: that some propositions are ‘justification magnets’. (...) According to the doctrine of justification magnetism, we have better justification for some propositions than for others solely in virtue of certain features of those propositions; independently, that is, of anything to do with evidential support or cognitive accomplishment. In the course of discussing an objection to justification magnetism I describe (though I do not endorse) a novel approach to epistemology akin to interpretationism in the theory of reference. (shrink)
Evidentialism is a popular theory of epistemic justification, yet, as early proponents of the theory Earl Conee and Richard Feldman admit, there are many elements that must be developed before Evidentialism can provide a full account of epistemic justification, or well-founded belief. It is the aim of this book to provide the details that are lacking; here McCain moves past Evidentialism as a mere schema by putting forward and defending a full-fledged theory of epistemic justification. In this (...) book McCain offers novel approaches to several elements of well-founded belief. Key among these are an original account of what it takes to have information as evidence, an account of epistemic support in terms of explanation, and a causal account of the basing relation that is far superior to previous accounts. The result is a fully developed Evidentialist account of well-founded belief. (shrink)
Introduction: the foundation of justice -- Practical reason and justifying reasons: on the foundation of morality -- Moral autonomy and the autonomy of morality : toward a theory of normativity after Kant -- Ethics and morality -- The justification of justice: Rawls's political liberalism and Habermas's discourse theory in dialogue -- Political liberty: integrating five conceptions of autonomy -- A critical theory of multicultural toleration -- The rule of reasons: three models of deliberative democracy -- Social justice, justification, (...) and power -- The basic right to justification: toward a constructivist conception of human rights -- Constructions of transnational justice: comparing John Rawls's the law of peoples and Otfried Höffe's democracy in an age of globalisation -- Justice, morality, and power in the global context -- Toward a critical theory of transnational justice. (shrink)
This book examines phenomenal conservatism, one of the most influential and promising internalist conceptions of non-inferential justification debated in current epistemology and philosophy of mind. It also explores the significance of the findings of this examination for the general debate on epistemic justification. According to phenomenal conservatism, non-inferential justification rests on seemings or appearances, conceived of as experiences provided with propositional content. Phenomenal conservatism states that if it appears to S that P, in the absence of defeaters, (...) S thereby has some justification for believing that P. This view provides the basis for foundationalism and many ordinary epistemic practices. This book sheds new light on phenomenal conservatism by assessing objections to it and examining epistemological merits and advantages attributed to it. In a nutshell, phenomenal conservatism is actually compatible with Bayesian reasoning, and it is unaffected by bootstrapping problems and challenges that appeal to the cognitive penetrability of perception. Nevertheless, appearance-based justification proves unstable or elusive and its antisceptical bite is more limited than expected. These difficulties could be surmounted if phenomenal conservatism were integrated with a theory of inferential justification. The book appeals to scholars and postgraduates in the field of epistemology and philosophy of mind who are interested in the rational roles of appearances. (shrink)
In virtue of what are we justified in employing the rule of inference Modus Ponens? One tempting approach to answering this question is to claim that we are justified in employing Modus Ponens purely in virtue of facts concerning meaning or concept-possession. In this paper, we argue that such meaning-based accounts cannot be accepted as the fundamental account of our justification.
This volume is about the notion of 'defeat' in philosophy. The idea is that someone who has some knowledge, or a justified belief, can lose this knowledge or justified belief if they acquire a 'defeater' - evidence that undermines it. The contributors examine the role of defeat not just in epistemology but in practical reasoning and ethics.
Certain plausible evidential requirements and coherence requirements on rationality seem to yield dilemmas of rationality (in a specific, objectionable sense) when put together with the possibility of misleading higher-order evidence. Epistemologists have often taken such dilemmas to be evidence that we’re working with some false principle. In what follows I show how one can jointly endorse an evidential requirement, a coherence requirement, and the possibility of misleading higher-order evidence without running afoul of dilemmas of rationality. The trick lies in observing (...) the difference between attitudes it is rational to hold (= propositional justification) and rationally holding those attitudes (= doxastic justification). (shrink)
Virtually all philosophers agree that for a belief to be epistemically justified, it must satisfy certain conditions. Perhaps it must be supported by evidence. Or perhaps it must be reliably formed. Or perhaps there are some other "good-making" features it must have. But does a belief's justification also require some sort of awareness of its good-making features? The answer to this question has been hotly contested in contemporary epistemology, creating a deep divide among its practitioners. Internalists, who tend to (...) focus on scientific or theoretical beliefs as the ideal, insist that such awareness is required for justification. Externalists, who think children's ordinary beliefs in obvious facts are paradigm cases of justified belief, say it isn't required. Michael Bergmann's book offers a decisive refutation of internalism and a sustained defense of externalism. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne offers an original treatment of a question at the heart of epistemology: what makes a belief rational, or justified in holding? He maps the rival accounts of philosophers on epistemic justification ("internalist" and "externalist"), arguing that they are really accounts of different concepts. He distinguishes between synchronic justification (justification at a time) and diachronic justification (synchronic justification resulting from adequate investigation)--both internalist and externalist. He also argues that most kinds of justification are (...) worth having because they are indicative of truth; however, it is only justification of internalist kinds that can guide a believer's actions. Swinburne goes on to show the usefulness of the probability calculus in elucidating how empirical evidence makes beliefs probably true. (shrink)
Theories of emotional justification investigate the conditions under which emotions are epistemically justified or unjustified. I make three contributions to this research program. First, I show that we can generalize some familiar epistemological concepts and distinctions to emotional experiences. Second, I use these concepts and distinctions to display the limits of the ‘simple view’ of emotional justification. On this approach, the justification of emotions stems only from the contents of the mental states they are based on, also (...) known as their cognitive bases. The simple view faces the ‘gap problem’: If cognitive bases and emotions (re)present their objects and properties in different ways, then cognitive bases are not sufficient to justify emotions. Third, I offer a novel solution to the gap problem based on emotional dispositions. This solution (1) draws a line between the justification of basic and non-basic emotions, (2) preserves a broadly cognitivist view of emotions, (3) avoids a form of value skepticism that threatens inferentialist views of emotional justification, and (4) sheds new light on the structure of our epistemic access to evaluative properties. (shrink)
Ever since Plato it has been thought that one knows only if one's belief hits the mark of truth and does so with adequate justification. The issues debated by Laurence BonJour and Ernest Sosa concern mostly the nature and conditions of such epistemic justification, and its place in our understanding of human knowledge. Presents central issues pertaining to internalism vs. externalism and foundationalism vs. virtue epistemology in the form of a philosophical debate. Introduces students to fundamental questions within (...) epistemology while engaging in contemporary debates. Written by two of today’s foremost epistemologists. Includes an extensive bibliography. (shrink)
What justifies our beliefs about what other people say? According to epistemic inferentialism, the justification of comprehension-based beliefs depends on the justification of other beliefs, e.g., beliefs about what words the speaker uttered or even what sounds they produced. According to epistemic non-inferentialism, the justification of comprehension-based beliefs does not depend on the justification of other beliefs. This paper offers a new defense of epistemic non-inferentialism. First, I discuss three counterexamples to epistemic non-inferentialism provided recently by (...) Brendan Balcerak Jackson. I argue that only one of Balcerak Jackson’s counterexamples is effective, and that it is effective against only one version of epistemic non-inferentialism, viz. language comprehension dogmatism. Second, I propose an alternative version of epistemic non-inferentialism, viz. comprehension-process reliabilism, which is immune to these counterexamples. I conclude that we should follow Balcerak Jackson in his rejection of language comprehension dogmatism but not all the way to the endorsement of epistemic inferentialism. Comprehension-process reliabilism is superior to both these alternatives. (shrink)
The major divide in contemporary epistemology is between those who embrace and those who reject a priori knowledge. Albert Casullo provides a systematic treatment of the primary epistemological issues associated with the controversy. By freeing the a priori from traditional assumptions about the nature of knowledge and justification, he offers a novel approach to resolving these issues which assigns a prominent role to empirical evidence. He concludes by arguing that traditional approaches to the a priori, which focus primarily on (...) the concepts of necessity and analyticity, are misguided. (shrink)
There is much to like about the idea that justification should be understood in terms of normality or normic support (Smith 2016, Goodman and Salow 2018). The view does a nice job explaining why we should think that lottery beliefs differ in justificatory status from mundane perceptual or testimonial beliefs. And it seems to do that in a way that is friendly to a broadly internalist approach to justification. In spite of its attractions, we think that the normic (...) support view faces two serious challenges. The first is that it delivers the wrong result in preface cases. These cases suggest that the view is either too sceptical or too externalist. The second is that the view struggles with certain kinds of Moorean absurdities. It turns out that these problems can easily be avoided. If we think of normality as a condition on *knowledge*, we can characterise justification in terms of its connection to knowledge and thereby avoid the difficulties discussed here. The resulting view does an equally good job explaining why we should think that our perceptual and testimonial beliefs are justified when lottery beliefs cannot be. Thus, it seems that little could be lost and much could be gained by revising the proposal and adopting a view on which it is knowledge, not justification, that depends directly upon normality. (shrink)
The primary aim of this book is to understand how seemings relate to justification and whether some version of dogmatism or phenomenal conservatism can be sustained. It also addresses a number of other issues, including the nature of seemings, cognitive penetration, Bayesianism, and the epistemology of morality and disagreement.
Jurgen Habermas has developed the theory of communicative action primarily in the context of critical social and political theory and discourse ethics. The essays collected in this volume, however, focus on the theory's implications for epistemology and metaphysics. They address two fundamental issues that have not figured prominently in his work since the early 1970s. One is the question of naturalism: How can the ineluctable normativity of the perspective of agents interacting in a linguistically structured lifeworld be reconciled with the (...) contingency of the emergence and evolution of forms of life? The other is a key problem facing epistemological realism after the linguistic turn: How can the assumption that there is an independently existing world be reconciled with the linguistic insight that we cannot have unmediated access to "brute" reality?Truth and Justification collects Habermas's major essays on these topics published since the mid-1990s. They offer detailed discussions of truth and objectivity as well as an account of the representational function of language in terms of the formal-pragmatic framework he has developed. In defending his post-Kantian pragmatism, Habermas draws on both the continental and analytic traditions and endorses a weak naturalism and a form of epistemological realism. (shrink)
This article sets forth a view about how epistemic justification figures in the ongoing justification of memory belief, a view that I call moderate justificational preservationism . MJP presupposes a nontraditional notion of memorial justification according to which what makes one's present belief that p prima facie justified is that which provided one with prima facie justification to believe that p originally . The article offers support for MJP by examining a series of cases that involve (...) forgetting, and in doing so, criticizes views of Jennifer Lackey, David Owens, Michael Huemer, and George Pappas. (shrink)
Today it is generally assumed that epistemic justification comes in degrees. The consequences, however, have not been adequately appreciated. In this paper we show that the assumption invalidates some venerable attacks on infinitism: once we accept that epistemic justification is gradual, an infinitist stance makes perfect sense. It is only without the assumption that infinitism runs into difficulties.
This collection of papers (including three completely new ones) by one of the foremost philosophers in epistemology transcends two of the most widely misunderstood positions in philosophy--foundationalism and coherentism. Audi proposes a distinctively moderate, internalist foundationalism that incorporates some of the virtues of both coherentism and reliabilism. He develops important distinctions between positive and negative epistemic dependence, substantively and conceptually naturalistic theories, dispositional beliefs and dispositions to believe, episodically and structurally inferential beliefs, first and second order internalism, and rebutting as (...) opposed to refuting skepticism. These contrasts are applied not only to rational belief, but to rational action and the rationality of desires and intentions. The overall position is a pluralist, moderately rationalistic, internalist theory of justification and a partly externalist conception of knowledge. However, by virtue of offering a theory of rationality as well as an account of knowledge and justified belief, it will interest philosophers of ethics, science, and the social sciences and teachers and students of epistemology. (shrink)
This book explores the concept of epistemic justification and our understanding of the problem of skepticism. Providing critical examination of key responses to the skeptical challenge, Hamid Vahid presents a theory which is shown to work alongside the internalism/externalism issue and the thesis of semantic externalism, with a deontological conception of justification at its core.
Sven Rosenkranz’s Justification as Ignorance shows how a strongly internalist conception of justification can be derived from a strongly externalist conception of knowledge, given an identification of justification with second-order ignorance and a set of structural principles concerning knowing and being in a position to know. Among these principles is an epistemic analogue of the Geach modal schema which states that one is always in a position to know that one doesn’t know p or in a position (...) to know that one doesn’t know not-p. Even suitably refined, the principle faces a range of counterexamples in which it misleadingly and persistently seems to one that one knows whether p without it seeming to one that one knows p nor that one knows not-p. These cases also threaten the book’s case for the luminosity of second-order ignorance, which is in turn central to its derivation of strongly internalist principles of justification. (shrink)
This paper will articulate and defend a novel theory of epistemic justification; I characterize my view as the thesis that justification is potential knowledge . My project is an instance of the ‘knowledge-first’ programme, championed especially by Timothy Williamson. So I begin with a brief recapitulation of that programme.
Some series can go on indefinitely, others cannot, and epistemologists want to know in which class to place epistemic chains. Is it sensible or nonsensical to speak of a proposition or belief that is justified by another proposition or belief, ad infinitum? In large part the answer depends on what we mean by “justification.” Epistemologists have failed to find a definition on which everybody agrees, and some have even advised us to stop looking altogether. In spite of this, the (...) present essay submits a few candidate definitions. It argues that, although not giving the final word, these candidates tell us something about the possibility of infinite epistemic chains. And it shows that they can short-circuit a debate about doxastic justification. (shrink)
Adequate epistemic justification is best conceived as the appearance, over time, of knowledge to the subject. ‘Appearance’ is intended literally, not as a synonym for belief. It is argued through consideration of examples that this account gets the extension of ‘adequately justified belief’ at least roughly correct. A more theoretical reason is then offered to regard justification as the appearance of knowledge: If we have a knowledge norm for assertion, we do our best to comply with this norm (...) when we express as assertions only beliefs that appear to us to be knowledge. If we are doing our best, there is little point in further sanctions. So a norm of knowledge for assertion would lead to a secondary norm of justified belief as the appearance of knowledge, marking a point at which our assertions may be corrected but should not be blamed. (shrink)
This book focuses on the normative questions raised by the postulation and declaration of a global ethic. Its scope covers the questions “why do we need a global ethic?”, “what kind of global ethic do we need and what sort of normative justification does it imply?” The book considers the imperative of global ethic to be plausible because it demands consistency in the application of the rule or standard of moral behavior.
An influential proposal is that knowledge involves safe belief. A belief is safe, in the relevant sense, just in case it is true in nearby metaphysically possible worlds. In this paper, I introduce a distinct but complementary notion of safety, understood in terms of epistemically possible worlds. The main aim, in doing so, is to add to the epistemologist’s tool-kit. To demonstrate the usefulness of the tool, I use it to advance and assess substantive proposals concerning knowledge and justification.
In this essay I will discuss the relationship between two of the most basic ideas in political and legal philosophy: the justification of the state and state legitimacy. I plainly cannot aspire here to a complete account of these matters; but I hope to be able to say enough to motivate a way of thinking about the relation between these notions that is, I believe, superior to the approach which seems to be dominant in contemporary political philosophy. Today showing (...) that a state is justified and showing that it is legitimate are typically taken to require the very same arguments. I will argue that this contemporary stance obscures the difference between two central ways in which we should morally evaluate states, and it generates confusions about other serious practical issues, such as those surrounding our moral obligations to comply with law. I begin with brief discussions of the ideas of justification and legitimacy and with an attempt to capture what ought to be most central in our concerns about these ideas. I turn then to two basic ways of thinking about the relation between justification and legitimacy that I want to distinguish: what I will call the Lockean and the Kantian approaches. Next, I argue that the minority Lockean approach to this issue captures essential features of institutional evaluation that the majority Kantian approach does not; and I add brief mention of one further complication facing any adequate account of political evaluation. (shrink)
Justification has long been considered a necessary condition for knowledge, and theories that deny the necessity of justification have been dismissed as nonstarters. In this chapter, we challenge this long-standing view by showing that many of the arguments offered in support of it fall short and by providing empirical evidence that individuals are often willing to attribute knowledge when epistemic justification is lacking.
Pediatric research without the potential for clinical benefit is vital to improving pediatric medical care. This research also raises ethical concern and is regarded by courts and commentators as unethical. While at least 10 justifications have been proposed in response, all have fundamental limitations. This article describes and defends a new justification based on the fact that enrollment in clinical research offers children the opportunity to contribute to a valuable project. Contributing as children to valuable projects can benefit individuals (...) in two ways. First, individuals may come to ?embrace? the contributions they made as children. Second, contributing to valuable projects can lead to a better overall life. Because these potential benefits can outweigh small research risks, they provide a justification for pediatric research without the potential for clinical benefit, when it poses low risks and has the potential to benefit others in important ways. (shrink)
The problem of skepticism is often understood as a paradox: a valid argument with plausible premises whose conclusion is that we lack justification for perceptual beliefs. Typically, this conclusion is deemed unacceptable, so a theory is offered that posits conditions for justification on which some premise is false. The theory defended here is more general, and explains why the paradox arises in the first place. Like Strawson’s (Introduction to logical theory, Wiley, New York, 1952) “ordinary language” approach to (...) induction, the theory posits something built into the very notion of justification: it is loaded with a bias towards the proposition that we are not massively deceived. Beyond the paradox, remaining skeptical problems consist of metaphysical and practical questions: whether we are massively deceived, or why we should use our loaded notion rather than some other. Such challenges have pro- found epistemological significance, but they are not problems that an a priori theory of justification can solve. (shrink)
According to political liberalism, laws must be justified to all citizens in order to be legitimate. Most political liberals have taken this to mean that laws must be justified by appeal to a specific class of ‘public reasons’, which all citizens can accept. In this paper I defend an alternative, convergence, model of public justification, according to which laws can be justified to different citizens by different reasons, including reasons grounded in their comprehensive doctrines. I consider three objections to (...) such an account—that it undermines sincerity in public reason, that it underestimates the importance of shared values, and that it is insufficiently deliberative—and argue that convergence justifications are resilient to these objections. They should therefore be included within a theory of political liberalism, as a legitimate form of public justification. This has important implications for the obligations that political liberalism places upon citizens in their public deliberations and reason-giving, and might make the theory more attractive to some of its critics, particularly those sympathetic to religious belief. (shrink)