, Volume 190, Issue 17, pp 3751–3775

Why reliabilism does not permit easy knowledge


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-012-0222-8

Cite this article as:
Becker, K. Synthese (2013) 190: 3751. doi:10.1007/s11229-012-0222-8


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.


Basic knowledgeBootstrappingEasy knowledge problemHigher-order knowledgeReliabilism

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy1 University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA