Acta Analytica

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 257–272

Reliabilism and Brains in Vats


DOI: 10.1007/s12136-010-0088-7

Cite this article as:
Altschul, J. Acta Anal (2011) 26: 257. doi:10.1007/s12136-010-0088-7


According to epistemic internalism, the only facts that determine the justificational status of a belief are facts about the subject’s own mental states, like beliefs and experiences. Externalists instead hold that certain external facts, such as facts about the world or the reliability of a belief-producing mechanism, affect a belief’s justificational status. Some internalists argue that considerations about evil demon victims and brains in vats provide excellent reason to reject externalism: because these subjects are placed in epistemically unfavorable settings, externalism seems unable to account for the strong intuition that these subjects’ beliefs are nonetheless justified. I think these considerations do not at all help the internalist cause. I argue that by appealing to the anti-individualistic nature of perception, it can be shown that skeptical scenarios provide no reason to prefer internalism to externalism.


Reliabilism Justification New evil demon problem Internalism Externalism Perceptual anti-individualism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLoyola University-New OrleansNew OrleansUSA

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