, Volume 164, Issue 3, pp 591-597
Date: 29 Feb 2012

Bootstrapping, evidentialist internalism, and rule circularity

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Jonathan Vogel is the father of the problem of bootstrapping.

See Vogel (2000, pp 602–623). Vogel generously attributes independent launching of the bootstrapping problem to Fumerton (1995). But to my mind, it is unclear whether the epistemic phenomenon Fumerton discusses there---a sort of circularity seemingly present in “track record” reasoning---is the same phenomenon found in bootstrapping reasoning.

Vogel originally held that bootstrapping presents a problem for externalist theories of knowledge. His focus was on reliabilism. Vogel was taken to task by Stewart Cohen, in another widely discussed paper, for failing to realize that Vogel’s evidentialist internalism (hereafter EI) is also open to a bootstrapping problem.

See Cohen (2002, pp. 309–329).

As Vogel says, “Tu Quoque!” In this article, I want to examine Vogel’s response to Cohen.

See Vogel (2008, pp. 518–539).

I will argue that Vogel’s response is unsuccessful. Vogel wishes to distinguish EI from reliabilism by providing his th ...