, Volume 189, Issue 2, pp 297–315

Mere faith and entitlement



The scandal to philosophy and human reason, wrote Kant, is that we must take the existence of material objects on mere faith. In contrast, the skeptical paradox that has scandalized recent philosophy is not formulated in terms of faith, but rather in terms of justification, warrant, and entitlement. I argue that most contemporary approaches to the paradox (both dogmatist/liberal and default/conservative) do not address the traditional problem that scandalized Kant, and that the status of having a warrant (or justification) that is derived from entitlement is irrelevant to whether we take our beliefs on mere faith. For, one can have the sort of warrant that most contemporary anti-skeptics posit while still taking one’s belief on mere faith. An alternative approach to the traditional problem is sketched, one that still makes use of contemporary insights about “entitlement.”


Skepticism Justification Entitlement Dogmatism 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alston W. P. (1986) Epistemic circularity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47(1): 1–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Avnur, Y. (ms) Closure reconsidered (under review).Google Scholar
  3. Bergmann M. (2004) Epistemic circularity: Malignant and benign. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69(3): 709–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burge T. (2003) Perceptual entitlement. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67(3): 503–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen S. (2000) Contextualism and skepticism. Noûs 34(s1): 94–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coliva A. (2010) Moore’s proof and Martin Davies’s epistemic projects. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88(1): 101–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coliva A. (forthcoming), Moore’s proof, liberals and conservatives—Is there a (Wittgensteinian) third way?Google Scholar
  8. Davies M. (2003) The problem of armchair knowledge. In: Nuccetelli S. (eds) New essays on semantic externalism and self-knowledge. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 23–56Google Scholar
  9. Davies M. (2004) Epistemic entitlement, warrant transmission and easy knowledge. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78(1): 213–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davies M. (2008) Two purposes of arguing and two epistemic projects. In: Ravenscroft I. (eds) Minds, worlds and conditionals: Essays in honour of Frank Jackson. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  11. Dretske F. (2000) Entitlement: Epistemic rights without epistemic duties. Philosophy and phenomenological research 60(3): 591–606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Garrett D. (2007) Reasons to act and believe: Naturalism and rational justification in Hume’s philosophical project. Philosophical Studies 132(1): 1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Markie P. J. (2005) Easy knowledge. Philosophy and phenomenological research 70(2): 406–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McDowell J. (2008) The disjunctive conception of experience as material for a transcendental argument. In: Macpherson F., Haddock A. (eds) Disjunctivism: Perception, action, knowledge. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. Nozick R. (1981) Philosophical explanations. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  16. Pryor J. (2000) The skeptic and the dogmatist. Noûs 34(4): 517–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Putnam H. (1992) Brains in a Vat. In: DeRose K., Warfield T. A. (eds) Skepticism: A contemporary reader. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  18. Silins N. (2005) Transmission failure failure. Philosophical Studies 126(1): 71–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Skyrms B. (1966) Choice and chance. Dickenson, BelmontGoogle Scholar
  20. Smithis, D. (2011). Moore’s paradox and the accessibility of justification. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.Google Scholar
  21. Strawson P. F. (1985) Skepticism and naturalism: Some varieties. Columbia University Press, ColumbiaGoogle Scholar
  22. White R. (2006) Problems for dogmatism. Philosophical Studies 131(3): 525–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wright C. (2003) Some reflections on the acquisition of warrant by inference. In: Nuccetelli S. (eds) New essays on semantic externalism and self-knowledge. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 57–78Google Scholar
  24. Wright C. (2004) Warrant for nothing (and Foundations for Free)?. Aristotelian Society Supplement, 78(1): 167–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wright, C. (2007) The perils of dogmatism. In S. Nuccetelli (Eds.). Themes from G. E. Moore: New essays in epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scripps CollegeClaremontUSA

Personalised recommendations