, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 399-417

INTERNALISM, EXTERNALISM AND THE NO-DEFEATER CONDITION

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Abstract

Despite various attempts to rectify matters, the internalism-externalism (I-E) debate in epistemology remains mired in serious confusion. I present a new account of this debate, one which fits well with entrenched views on the I-E distinction and illuminates the fundamental disagreements at the heart of the debate. Roughly speaking, the I-E debate is over whether or not certain of the necessary conditions of positive epistemic status are internal. But what is the sense of ‘internal’ here? And of which conditions of which positive epistemic status are we speaking? I argue that an adequate answer to these questions requires reference to what I call the no-defeater condition which is satisfied by a subject’s belief B just in case she does not believe that B is defeated. I close by stating succinctly the main positions taken in the I-E debate, identifying the basic points of disagreement and suggesting fruitful courses for future discussion.