, Volume 190, Issue 17, pp 3751–3775 | Cite as

Why reliabilism does not permit easy knowledge



Reliabilism furnishes an account of basic knowledge that circumvents the problem of the given. However, reliabilism and other epistemological theories that countenance basic knowledge have been criticized for permitting all-too-easy higher-level knowledge. In this paper, I describe the problem of easy knowledge, look briefly at proposed solutions, and then develop my own. I argue that the easy knowledge problem, as it applies to reliabilism, hinges on a false and too crude understanding of ‘reliable’. With a more plausible conception of ‘reliable’, a simple and elegant solution emerges.


Basic knowledge Bootstrapping Easy knowledge problem Higher-order knowledge Reliabilism 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy1 University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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