Philosophical Studies

, Volume 163, Issue 3, pp 751-762

First online:

The specificity of the generality problem

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In “Why the generality problem is everybody’s problem,” Michael Bishop argues that every theory of justification needs a solution to the generality problem. He contends that a solution is needed in order for any theory to be used in giving an acceptable account of the justificatory status of beliefs in certain examples. In response, first I will describe the generality problem that is specific to process reliabilism and two other sorts of problems that are essentially the same. Then I will argue that the examples that Bishop presents pose no such problem for some theories. I will illustrate the exempt theories by describing how an evidentialist view can account for the justification in the examples without having any similar problem. It will be clear that other views about justification are likewise unaffected by anything like the generality problem.


Reliabilism Generality Problem Evidentialism Epistemic justification