, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 383-408

Internalism empowered: how to bolster a theory of justification with a direct realist theory of awareness

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Abstract

The debate in the philosophy of perception between direct realists and representationalists should influence the debate in epistemology between internalists and externalists about justification. If direct realists are correct, there are more consciously accessible justifiers for internalists to exploit than externalists think. Internalists can retain their distinctive internalist identity while accepting this widened conception of internalistic justification: even if they welcome the possibility of cognitive access to external facts, their position is still quite distinct from the typical externalist position. To demonstrate this, Alvin Goldman’s critique of internalism is shown to ignore important lessons from the case for direct realism about perception. In particular, it unjustifiably assumes that internalism entails that only facts simultaneous with the justification of a belief can justify the belief. Goldman’s definition of a “justifier” is also inconsistent with the overall guidance conception of epistemology he takes for granted in his critique of internalism.