Philosophical Studies

, Volume 175, Issue 4, pp 923–945 | Cite as

The reliability problem for reliabilism

  • Matthew FriseEmail author


According to process reliabilism, a belief produced by a reliable belief-forming process is justified. I introduce problems for this theory on any account of reliability. Does the performance of a process in some domain of worlds settle its reliability? The theories that answer “Yes” typically fail to state the temporal parameters of this performance. I argue that any theory paired with any plausible parameters has implausible implications. The theories that answer “No,” I argue, thereby lack essential support and exacerbate familiar problems. There are new reasons to avoid any reliability conditions on justification.


Process reliabilism Reliabilism Reliability problem Temporality problem Alvin Goldman 



I am grateful to Jon Matheson, Alyssa Ney, Brad Rettler, Lindsay Rettler, Brett Sherman, three anonymous referees, and an audience at UT Austin for valuable discussion of this paper. Thanks especially to Earl Conee, Rich Feldman, and Kevin McCain for helpful comments on multiple drafts. I revised this paper while supported by a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust. The opinions expressed in this paper are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Templeton Religion Trust.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBaylor UniversityWacoUSA

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