One of the main goals of epistemologists is to provide a substantive and explanatory account of the conditions under which a belief has some desirable epistemic status (typically, justification or knowledge). According to the reliabilist approach to epistemology, any adequate account will need to mention the reliability of the process responsible for the belief, or truth-conducive considerations more generally. Historically, one major motivation for reliabilism—and one source of its enduring interest—is its naturalistic potential. According to reliabilists, epistemic properties can (...) be explained in terms of reliability, which in turn can be understood without reference to any unreduced epistemic notions, such as evidence or knowledge. This article begins by surveying some of the main forms of reliabilism, concentrating on process reliabilism as a theory of justification. It proceeds to review some of the main objections to reliabilism, and some of the responses that have been offered on the reliabilist’s behalf. After canvassing some recent developments in reliabilist epistemology, the article concludes by considering various cousins and spin-offs of reliabilist epistemology, including virtue reliabilism and various evidentialist-reliabilist hybrids. (shrink)
Matthew Frise claims that reliabilist theories of justification have a temporality problem—the problem of providing a principled account of the temporal parameters of a process’s performance that determine whether that process is reliable at a given time. Frise considers a representative sample of principled temporal parameters and argues that there are serious problems with all of them. He concludes that the prospects for solving the temporality problem are bleak. Importantly, Frise argues that the temporality problem constitutes a new reason to (...) reject reliabilism. On this point, I argue that Frise is mistaken. There are serious interpretive difficulties with Frise’s argument. In this essay, I show that there are principled and reasonable temporal parameters for the reliabilist to adopt that successfully undermine the interpretations of Frise’s argument that only invoke plausible premises. There are interpretations of Frise’s argument that leave reliabilism without a clear parameter solution. However, I argue that these interpretations invoke controversial premises that are at best unmotivated, and at worst they merely re-raise older disputes about reliabilism. In any event, the temporality problem fails to constitute a new reason to reject reliabilism. (shrink)
This is a collection of chapters by the leading proponent of process reliabilism, explaining its relation to rival and/or neighboring theories including evidentialism, other forms of reliabilism, and virtue epistemology. It addresses other prominent themes in contemporary epistemology, such as the internalism/externalism debate, the epistemological upshots of experimental challenges to intuitional methodology, the source of epistemic value, and social epistemology. The Introduction addresses late-breaking responses to ongoing exchanges with friends, rivals, and critics of reliabilism.
The New Evil Demon Problem is supposed to show that straightforward versions of reliabilism are false: reliability is not necessary for justification after all. I argue that it does no such thing. The reliabilist can count a number of beliefs as justified even in demon worlds, others as unjustified but having positive epistemic status nonetheless. The remaining beliefs---primarily perceptual beliefs---are not, on further reflection, intuitively justified after all. The reliabilist is right to count these beliefs as unjustified in demon (...) worlds, and it is a challenge for the internalist to be able to do so as well. (shrink)
One attractive feature of process reliabilism is its reductive potential: it promises to explain justification in entirely non-epistemic terms. In this paper, I argue that the phenomenon of epistemic defeat poses a serious challenge for process reliabilism’s reductive ambitions. The standard process reliabilist analysis of defeat is the ‘Alternative Reliable Process Account’ (ARP). According to ARP, whether S’s belief is defeated depends on whether S has certain reliable processes available to her which, if they had been used, would (...) have resulted in S not holding the belief in question. Unfortunately, ARP proves untenable. I show, by way of counterexample, that ARP fails to articulate either necessary or sufficient conditions on defeat. Process reliabilists must either provide an alternative reductive account of defeat or renounce their reductive aspirations. (shrink)
In Virtues of the Mind I object to process reliabilism on the grounds that it does not explain the good of knowledge in addition to the good of true belief. In this paper I wish to develop this objection in more detail, and will then argue that this problem pushes us first in the direction of two offspring of process reliabilism—faculty reliabilism and proper functionalism, and, finally, to a true virtue epistemology.
Strategic Reliabilism is a framework that yields relative epistemic evaluations of belief-producing cognitive processes. It is a theory of cognitive excellence, or more colloquially, a theory of reasoning excellence (where 'reasoning' is understood very broadly as any sort of cognitive process for coming to judgments or beliefs). First introduced in our book, Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment (henceforth EPHJ), the basic idea behind SR is that epistemically excellent reasoning is efficient reasoning that leads in a robustly reliable (...) fashion to significant, true beliefs. It differs from most contemporary epistemological theories in two ways. First, it is not a theory of justification or knowledge – a theory of epistemically worthy belief. Strategic Reliabilism is a theory of epistemically worthy ways of forming beliefs. And second, Strategic Reliabilism does not attempt to account for an epistemological property that is assumed to be faithfully reflected in the epistemic judgments and intuitions of philosophers. If SR makes recommendations that accord with our reflective epistemic judgments and intuitions, great. If not, then so much the worse for our reflective epistemic judgments and intuitions. (shrink)
Stewart Cohen’s New Evil Demon argument raises familiar and widely discussed concerns for reliabilist accounts of epistemic justification. A now standard response to this argument, initiated by Alvin Goldman and Ernest Sosa, involves distinguishing different notions of justification. Juan Comesaña has recently and prominently claimed that his Indexical Reliabilism (IR) offers a novel solution in this tradition. We argue, however, that Comesaña’s proposal suffers serious difficulties from the perspective of the philosophy of language. More specifically, we show that the (...) two readings of sentences involving the word ‘justified’ which are required for Comesaña’s solution to the problem are not recoverable within the two-dimensional framework of Robert Stalnaker to which he appeals. We then consider, and reject, an attempt to overcome this difficulty by appeal to a complication of the theory involving counterfactuals, and conclude the paper by sketching our own preferred solution to Cohen’s New Evil Demon. (shrink)
Process reliabilists hold that in order for a belief to be justified, it must result from a reliable cognitive process. They also hold that a belief can be basically justified: justified in this manner without having any justification to believe that belief is reliably produced. Fumerton (1995), Vogel (2000), and Cohen (2002) have objected that such basic justification leads to implausible easy justification by means of either epistemic closure principles or so-called track record arguments. I argue that once we carefully (...) distinguish closure principles from transmission principles, and epistemic consequences from epistemic preconditions, neither version of this objection succeeds. (shrink)
Generativism about memory justification is the view that memory can generate epistemic justification. Generativism is gaining popularity, but process reliabilists tend to resist it. Process reliabilism explains the justification of beliefs by way of the reliability of the processes they result from. Some advocates of reliabilism deny various forms of generativism. Other reliabilists reject or remain neutral about only the more extreme forms. I argue that an extreme form of generativism follows from reliabilism. This result weakens a (...) long-standing argument for reliabilism. (shrink)
Goldman and Olsson ( 2009 ) have responded to the common charge that reliabilist theories of knowledge are incapable of accounting for the value knowledge has beyond mere true belief. We examine their “conditional probability solution” in detail, and show that it does not succeed. The conditional probability relation is too weak to support instrumental value, and the specific relation they describe is inessential to the value of knowledge. At best, they have described conditions in which knowledge indicates that additional (...) epistemic value is likely to be forthcoming in the future. We also argue that their motive analogy breaks down. The problem, we conclude, is that being produced by a reliable process is not sufficient for a belief to be justified. (shrink)
According to the “no-miracles argument” (NMA), truth is the best explanation of the predictive-instrumental success of scientific theories. A standard objection against NMA is that it is viciously circular. In Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth Stathis Psillos has claimed that the circularity objection can be met when NMA is supplemented with a reliabilist approach to justification. I will try to show, however, that scientific realists cannot take much comfort from this policy: if reliabilism makes no qualifications about the (...) domain where inference to the best explanation is reliable, scientific realists flagrantly beg the question. A qualified version of reliabilism, on the other side, does not entitle us to infer the realist conclusion. I conclude, then, that Psillos’s proposal does not make any significant progress for scientific realism. (shrink)
Process-reliabilist analyses of justification and knowledge face the generality problem. Recent discussion of this problem turns on certain untested empirical assumptions that this paper investigates. Three experiments are reported: two are free-naming studies that support the existence of a basic level in the previously unexplored domain of names for belief-forming processes; the third demonstrates that reliability judgments for the basic-level belief-forming process types are very strongly correlated with the corresponding justification and knowledge judgments. I argue that these results lend support (...) to process-reliabilism; I then go on to explore several different ways to make use of them in solutions to the generality problem. (shrink)
Reliabilism—the view that a belief is justified iff it is produced by a reliable process—is often characterized as a form of consequentialism. Recently, critics of reliabilism have suggested that since it is a form of consequentialism, reliabilism condones a variety of problematic trade-offs involving cases where someone forms an epistemically deficient belief now that will lead her to more epistemic value later. In the present paper, we argue that the relevant argument against reliabilism fails because it (...) equivocates. While there is a sense in which reliabilism is a kind of consequentialism, it is not of a kind on which we should expect problematic trade-offs. (shrink)
Alvin Goldman and Erik Olsson have recently proposed a novel solution to the value problem in epistemology, i.e., to the question of how to account for the apparent surplus value of knowledge over mere true belief. Their “conditional probability solution” maintains that even simple process reliabilism can account for the added value of knowledge, since forming true beliefs in a reliable way raises the objective probability that the subject will have more true belief of a similar kind in the (...) future. I argue that this proposal confronts significant internal problems and implicitly invokes higher-level epistemic conditions that run against the spirit of externalism. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe aim of this paper is to challenge the reliabilist interpretation of William Ockham 's epistemology. The discussion proceeds as follows. First, I analyse the reliabilist interpretation into two theses: a negative thesis I call the Anti-Internalism Thesis, according to which, for Ockham, epistemic justification does not depend on any internal factors that are accessible by reflection; a positive thesis I call the Reliability Thesis, according to which epistemic justification in Ockham depends on the reliability of a causal process through (...) which a given judgment is produced. Secondly, I argue that the Anti-Internalism Thesis fails since Ockham's notion of evidentness, which is at the heart of his theory of justification, strongly suggests that he posits an indispensable, internalist element of justification. Lastly, I argue that the Reliability Thesis also fails since not only can there be a reliable but inevident judgment in Ockham's framework, his emphasis on causality is best read not as talk of reliability, but as his emphasis on the relation between reason and what is based on reason. (shrink)
Reliabilism is a general approach to epistemology that emphasizes the truth conduciveness of a belief forming process, method, or other epistemologically relevant factor. The reliability theme appears both in theories of knowledge and theories of justification. ‘Reliabilism’ is sometimes used broadly to refer to any theory of knowledge or justification that emphasizes truth getting or truth indicating properties. These include theories originally proposed under different labels, such as ‘tracking’ theories. More commonly, ‘reliabilism’ is used narrowly to refer (...) to process reliabilism about justification. This entry discusses reliabilism in both broad and narrow senses but concentrates on reliability theories of justified belief, especially process reliabilism. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on a central element in all versions: the shift from an “internalist” to an “externalist” approach to understanding knowledge and justification. According to Goldman's version, knowledge is true belief acquired and sustained by some reliable cognitive process. As Goldman notes, the guidance‐deontological (GD) approach was the dominant approach prior to the Reliabilist Revolution. This chapter argues for two lemmas. The first is that Goldman has not adequately diagnosed the sources of the untenable internalism that is his principal (...) target: additional commitments must be brought to light. The second is that dispensing with these commitments opens the way to an approach to knowledge and justification that is “internalist” by a standard that Goldman himself recognizes, yet free of the drawbacks he brings to attention. The chapter concludes that internalist justification needs refinement, not rejection. This means, in turn, that the GD conception of justification also survives. (shrink)
After sketching my own solution to the Value of Knowledge Problem, which argues for a deontological understanding of justification and understands the value of knowing interesting propositions by the value we place on believing as we ought to believe, I discuss Alvin Goldman's and Erik Olsson's recent attempts to explain the value of knowledge within the framework of their reliabilist epistemology.
We are becoming increasingly dependent on robots and other forms of artificial intelligence for our beliefs. But how should the knowledge gained from the “say-so” of a robot be classified? Should it be understood as testimonial knowledge, similar to knowledge gained in conversation with another person? Or should it be understood as a form of instrument-based knowledge, such as that gained from a calculator or a sundial? There is more at stake here than terminology, for how we treat objects as (...) sources of knowledge often has important social and legal consequences. In this paper, I argue that at least some robots are capable of testimony. I make my argument by exploring the differences between instruments and testifiers on a well-known account of knowledge: reliabilism. On this approach, I claim that the difference between instruments and testifiers as sources of knowledge is that only the latter are capable of deception. As some robots can be designed to deceive, so they too should be recognized as testimonial sources of knowledge. (shrink)
Reliabilism about knowledge states that a belief-forming process generates knowledge only if its likelihood of generating true belief exceeds 50 percent. Despite the prominence of reliabilism today, there are very few if any explicit arguments for reliabilism in the literature. In this essay, I address this lacuna by formulating a new independent argument for reliabilism. As I explain, reliabilism can be derived from certain key knowledge-closure principles. Furthermore, I show how this argument can withstand John (...) Turri’s two recent objections to reliabilism: the argument from explanatory inference and the argument from achievements. (shrink)
One reliabilist option against the problem of bootstrapping is to argue that circular reasoning is bad, but reliabilism can avoid circular reasoning. Vogel dismisses this option on the grounds that reliabilists need circular reasoning in order to circumvent skepticism. Briesen argues, however, that although reliabilists need circular reasoning to block second-order skepticism, they do not need it to block first-order skepticism. But I argue in this paper that reliabilists cannot legitimately reject first-order skepticism unless they can block second-order skepticism. (...) In particular, I argue that reliabilists cannot meet the non-undermining provision for justification unless they can somehow block second-order skepticism. (shrink)
: Duncan Pritchard has recently highlighted the problem of veritic epistemic luck and claimed that a safety‐based account of knowledge succeeds in eliminating veritic luck where virtue‐based accounts and process reliabilism fail. He then claims that if one accepts a safety‐based account, there is no longer a motivation for retaining a commitment to reliabilism. In this article, I delineate several distinct safety principles, and I argue that those that eliminate veritic luck do so only if at least implicitly (...) committed to reliabilism. (shrink)
The following three propositions appear to be individually defensible but jointly inconsistent: (1) reliability is a necessary condition on epistemic justification; (2) on contested matters in philosophy, my beliefs are not reliably formed; (3) some of these beliefs are epistemically justified. I explore the nature and scope of the problem, examine and reject some candidate solutions, compare the issue with ones arising in discussions about disagreement, and offer a brief assessment of our predicament.
According to Selim Berker the prevalence of consequentialism in contemporary epistemology rivals its prevalence in contemporary ethics. Similarly, and more to the point, Berker finds epistemic consequentialism, epitomized by process reliabilism, to be as misguided and problematic as ethical consequentialism. This paper shows how Berker misconstrues process reliabilism and fails to pinpoint any new or substantial defects in it.
This paper aims to provide a novel response on behalf of Process Reliabilism to the Swamping Problem. Unlike previous responses, the present response does not involve conditional probabilities (as Goldman and Olsson do), it does not appeal to permissivism or attitudes towards epistemic risk (as Pettigrew does), it will not depend on the generality of the problem (as Carter and Jarvis do) and it does not embrace either evidentialism or evidence monism (as Bjelde does). Instead it appeals to the (...) modal properties of those beliefs formed through reliable process-types. What is more, the argument is generalizable: while I will frame my conclusion in Process Reliabilist terms, it should be of interest to anyone who is a truth monist regarding epistemic value. (shrink)
Pretheoretically we hold that we cannot gain justification or knowledge through an epistemically circular reasoning process. Epistemically circular reasoning occurs when a subject forms the belief that p on the basis of an argument A, where at least one of the premises of A already presupposes the truth of p. It has often been argued that process reliabilism does not rule out that this kind of reasoning leads to justification or knowledge. For some philosophers, this is a reason to (...) reject reliabilism. Those who try to defend reliabilism have two basic options: (I) accept that reliabilism does not rule out circular reasoning, but argue that this kind of reasoning is not as epistemically “bad” as it seems, or (II) hold on to the view that circular reasoning is epistemically “bad”, but deny that reliabilism really allows this kind of reasoning. Option (I) has been spelled out in several ways, all of which have found to be problematic. Option (II) has not been discussed very widely. Vogel considers and quickly dismisses it on the basis of three reasons. Weisberg has shown in detail that one of these reasons is unconvincing. In this paper I argue that the other two reasons are unconvincing as well and that therefore option (II) might in fact be a more promising starting point to defend reliabilism than option (I). (shrink)
This paper reviews two skeptical arguments and argues that a reliabilist framework is necessary to avoid them. The paper also argues that agent reliabilism, which makes the knower the seat of reliability, is the most plausible version of reliabilism.
According to reliabilist virtue epistemology, or virtue reliabilism, knowledge is true belief that is produced by intellectual excellence (or virtue), where intellectual excellence is understood in terms of reliable, truth-directed cognitive dispositions. This essay explains why virtue reliabilism is a form of epistemological externalism, is a moderately naturalized epistemology, and is distinct from virtue responsibilism. We explain virtue reliabilism’s answers to various forms of skepticism, its solution to the Gettier Problem, and its explanation of the value of (...) knowledge. We also describe several varieties of contemporary virtue reliabilism. Finally, we offer replies to two recently prominent objections to virtue reliabilism: that it is committed to an untenable epistemological individualism, and that there are empirical reasons to doubt whether people generally have the kinds of intellectual abilities that virtue reliabilism requires for knowledge. (shrink)
What is it for an imprecise credence to be justified? It might be thought that this is not a particularly urgent question for friends of imprecise credences to answer. For one might think that its answer just depends on how a well-trodden issue in epistemology plays out—namely, that of which theory of doxastic justification, be it reliabilism, evidentialism, or some other theory, is correct. I’ll argue, however, that it’s difficult for reliabilists to accommodate imprecise credences, at least if we (...) understand such credences to be determinate first-order attitudes. If I’m right, reliabilists will have to reject imprecise credences, and friends of imprecise credences will have to reject reliabilism. Near the end of the paper, I’ll also consider whether reliabilism can accommodate indeterminate credences. (shrink)
Reliabilism furnishes an account of basic knowledge that circumvents the problem of the given. However, reliabilism and other epistemological theories that countenance basic knowledge have been criticized for permitting all-too-easy higher-level knowledge. In this paper, I describe the problem of easy knowledge, look briefly at proposed solutions, and then develop my own. I argue that the easy knowledge problem, as it applies to reliabilism, hinges on a false and too crude understanding of ‘reliable’. With a more plausible (...) conception of ‘reliable’, a simple and elegant solution emerges. (shrink)
According to the thought experiment most commonly used to argue against reliabilism, Mr. Truetemp is given an unusual but reliable cognitive faculty. Since he is unaware of the existence of this faculty, its deliverances strike him as rather odd. Many think that Truetemp would not have justified beliefs. Since he satisfies the reliabilist conditions for justified belief, reliabilism appears to be mistaken. I argue that the Truetemp case is underdescribed and that this leads readers to make erroneous assumptions (...) about Truetemp's epistemic situation. After examining empirical studies of actual subjects who, like Truetemp, have received new perceptual faculties, I show that Truetemp must have been endowed with all of the reorganized neural circuitry and cognitive skills that subjects with new perceptual faculties normally acquire during a long and difficult process of adaptation and development. When readers realize how much more the designers of Truetemp's new faculty had to do than simply slip an artificial device under Truetemp's scalp, I find that they no longer think his beliefs would be unjustified. Because the thought experiment fails to support anti-reliabilist intuitions when further details of the case are made explicit, the Truetemp thought experiment does not constitute a clear and decisive counterexample to reliabilism. (shrink)
What are the conditions under which suspension of belief—or suspension, for short—is justified? Process reliabilists hold that our beliefs are justified if and only if these are produced or sustained by reliable cognitive processes. But they have said relatively little about suspension. Perhaps they think that we may easily extend an account of justified belief to deal with justified suspension. But it's not immediately clear how we may do so; in which case, evidentialism has a distinct advantage over reliabilism. (...) In this paper, I consider some proposals as to how process reliabilists might seek to account for justified suspension. Although several of these proposals do not work, two are promising. The first such proposal appeals to the notion of propositional justification; the second involves weaving evidentialist elements into reliabilism. I'll argue that the second proposal is better than the first. (shrink)
This paper defends reliabilism against the classic demon world victim thought experiment. In doing so, I underscore two of its key alleged intuitions. I then articulate a host of varied responses open to the reliabilist, arguing that these readily available responses provide the reliabilist with a way to either accommodate or reject these initial intuitions about the demon world victim thought experiment, and in a way consistent with reliabilism. Thus, I conclude that the demon world thought experiment does (...) not undercut reliability as the hallmark of epistemic justification. (shrink)
Jonathan Vogel has presented a disturbing problem for reliabilism. 1 Reliabilists claim that knowledge is reliably produced true belief. Reliabilism is, of course, a version of externalism, and on such a view, a knower need have no knowledge, no justified belief, indeed, no conception that his or her belief is reliably produced. It is the fact that the knower's true belief is reliably produced which makes it a case of knowledge, not any appreciation of this fact. But Vogel (...) now argues that reliabilists will, by a process he calls ‘bootstrapping’, far too easily gain knowledge of the reliability of the processes by which their knowledge is produced. For the reliabilist, knowledge which should be difficult to come by is quite easily and trivially attainable, Vogel argues. And this, of course, seems to show a fundamental flaw in the reliabilist conception of knowledge.One solution to this puzzle is offered by van Cleve . Bootstrapping may seem unattractive, van Cleve claims, but only when we fail to consider the alternative. Any epistemological view which does not legitimate bootstrapping, he argues, will inevitably lead to scepticism. And if the choice is between bootstrapping and scepticism, van Cleve will happily accept bootstrapping.It would be nice, certainly, if we could avoid this unpalatable dilemma.Vogel's argument is disturbingly straightforward. Suppose that Roxanne gains knowledge that the gas tank in her car is full by looking at her gas gauge, and let us further suppose that Roxanne has no reason at all to believe that her gas gauge is reliable. As Vogel points out, reliabilists cannot object to these assumptions. Precisely because reliabilism is a version of externalism, reliabilists must allow that there are cases meeting these very conditions. That is, reliabilists must allow that one can gain knowledge by way of a …. (shrink)
In “A well-founded solution to the generality problem,” Comesaña argues, inter alia, for three main claims. One is what I call the unavoidability claim: Any adequate epistemological theory needs to appeal, either implicitly or explicitly, to the notion of a belief’s being based on certain evidence. Another is what I call the legitimacy claim: It is perfectly legitimate to appeal to the basing relation in solving a problem for an epistemological theory. According to Comesaña, the legitimacy claim follows straightforwardly from (...) the unavoidability claim. The third one is what I call the basing solution claim: An appeal to the notion of basing relation is all we need to solve the generality problem for (process) reliabilism. In this paper, I will argue that the unavoidability claim and the basing solution claim are false and that the legitimacy claim might be true only in a qualified sense. (shrink)
Reliabilism is invoked by a standard causal response to the slow switching argument for incompatibilism about mental content externalism and privileged access. Though the response in question is negative, in that it only establishes that, given such an epistemology, externalism does not rule privileged access out, the appeal to reliabilism involves an assumption about the reliability of introspection, an assumption that in turn grounds a simple argument for the positive conclusion that reliabilism itself implies privileged access. This (...) paper offers a two-part defense of that conclusion: the reliabilist account of privileged access is defended both againstarguments in favor of the rival content inheritance strategy and against an argument turning on empirical considerations concerning the individuation of the belief-producing process of introspection. (shrink)
In sec. 1.1 I emphasize the meliorative purpose of epistemology, and I characterize Goldman's epistemology as reliabilistic, cognitive, social, and meliorative. In sec. 1.2 I point out that Goldman's weak notion of knowledge is in conflict with our ordinary usage of 'knowledge'. In sec. 2 I argue for an externalist-internalist hybrid conception of justification which adds reliability-indicators to externalist knowledge. Reliability-indicators produce a veritistic surplus value for the social spread of knowledge. In sec. 3 I analyze some particular meliorative rules (...) which have been proposed by Goldman. I prove that obedience to the rule of maximally specific evidence increases expected veritistic value (sec. 3.1), and I argue that rule-circular arguments are epistemically worthless (sec. 3.2). In the final sec. 3.3 I report a non-circular justification of meta-induction which has been developed elsewhere. (shrink)
Contemporary epistemologists typically define a priori justification as justification that is independent of sense experience. However, sense experience plays at least some role in the production of many paradigm cases of a priori justified belief. This raises the question of when experience is epistemically relevant to the justificatory status of the belief that is based on it. In this paper, I will outline the answers that can be given by the two currently dominant accounts of justification, i.e. evidentialism and (...) class='Hi'>reliabilism. While for the evidentialist, experience is epistemically relevant only if it is used as evidence, the reliabilist requires that the reliability of the relevant process depends on the reliability of experiential processes. I will argue that the reliabilist account accommodates our pre-theoretic classifications much better. In the final part of my paper I will use the reliabilist criterion to defend the a priori—a posteriori distinction against recent challenges by Hawthorne and Williamson. (shrink)
In this article I discuss two counterexamples (the New Evil Demon Problem and Norman‘s Clairvoyance) to reliabilism and a potential solution: dispositional reliabilism. The latter is a recent addition to the many already-existing varieties of reliabilism and faces some serious problems of its own. I argue here that these problems are surmountable. The resulting central argument of the article aims to demonstrate how viewing reliabilism as an intrinsic dispositional property solves many of the issues facing (...) class='Hi'>reliabilism to date. (shrink)
Process reliabilism says that a belief is justified iff the belief-forming process that produced it is sufficiently reliable. But any token belief-forming process is an instance of a number of different belief-forming process types. The problem of specifying the relevant type is known as the ‘generality problem’ for process reliabilism. This paper proposes a broadly relativist solution to the generality problem. The thought is that the relevant belief-forming process type is relative to the context. While the basic idea (...) behind the solution is from Mark Heller (1995), the solution defended here departs from Heller on a crucial point. Because of this departure, my solution avoids a serious problem with Heller’s solution. (shrink)
According to epistemic internalism, the only facts that determine the justificational status of a belief are facts about the subject’s own mental states, like beliefs and experiences. Externalists instead hold that certain external facts, such as facts about the world or the reliability of a belief-producing mechanism, affect a belief’s justificational status. Some internalists argue that considerations about evil demon victims and brains in vats provide excellent reason to reject externalism: because these subjects are placed in epistemically unfavorable settings, externalism (...) seems unable to account for the strong intuition that these subjects’ beliefs are nonetheless justified. I think these considerations do not at all help the internalist cause. I argue that by appealing to the anti-individualistic nature of perception, it can be shown that skeptical scenarios provide no reason to prefer internalism to externalism. (shrink)
I consider whether one particular anti-individualist claim, the doctrine of object-dependent thoughts (DODT), is compatible with the Principle of Privileged Access, or PPA, which states that, in general, a subject can have non-empirical knowledge of her thought contents. The standard defence of the compatibility of anti-individualism and PPA emphasises the reliability of the process which produces a subject's second order beliefs about her thought contents. I examine whether this defence can be applied to DODT, given that DODT generates the possibility (...) of illusions of thought. Drawing on general epistemological literature, I distinguish several senses of reliability, and argue that in the relevant sense-'global reliability'-DODT does sometimes threaten reliability and hence PPA. (shrink)
This paper aims to show that Selim Berker’s widely discussed prime number case is merely an instance of the well-known generality problem for process reliabilism and thus arguably not as interesting a case as one might have thought. Initially, Berker’s case is introduced and interpreted. Then the most recent response to the case from the literature is presented. Eventually, it is argued that Berker’s case is nothing but a straightforward consequence of the generality problem, i.e., the problematic aspect of (...) the case for process reliabilism (if any) is already captured by the generality problem. (shrink)
According to process reliabilism, a belief produced by a reliable belief-forming process is justified. I introduce problems for this theory on any account of reliability. Does the performance of a process in some domain of worlds settle its reliability? The theories that answer “Yes” typically fail to state the temporal parameters of this performance. I argue that any theory paired with any plausible parameters has implausible implications. The theories that answer “No,” I argue, thereby lack essential support and exacerbate (...) familiar problems. There are new reasons to avoid any reliability conditions on justification. (shrink)