, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 245-277

First online:

Internalism and epistemically responsible belief

  • John GrecoAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Fordham University

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In section one the deontological (or responsibilist) conception of justification is discussed and explained. In section two, arguments are put forward in order to derive the most plausible version of perspectival internalism, or the position that epistemic justification is a function of factors internal to the believer's cognitive perspective. The two most common considerations put forward in favor of perspectival internalism are discussed. These are the responsibilist conception of justification, and the intuition that two believers with like beliefs and experiences are equally justified in their like beliefs. In section three it is argued that perspectival internalism is false, and that in fact the position is not supported by a responsibilist conception of justification. Section four explicates two other forms of internalism, which are rejected for reasons similar to those presented against perspectival internalism. In section five, an internalist theory of justification is defended which is supported by a responsibilist conception of justification. Roughly stated, the position is that justified belief is belief which arises from the use of correct rules of reasoning. The idea of correctness is explicated, and the position is distinguished from others which are similar to it.