Acta Analytica

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 383–408 | Cite as

Internalism empowered: how to bolster a theory of justification with a direct realist theory of awareness

  • Benjamin BayerEmail author


The debate in the philosophy of perception between direct realists and representationalists should influence the debate in epistemology between internalists and externalists about justification. If direct realists are correct, there are more consciously accessible justifiers for internalists to exploit than externalists think. Internalists can retain their distinctive internalist identity while accepting this widened conception of internalistic justification: even if they welcome the possibility of cognitive access to external facts, their position is still quite distinct from the typical externalist position. To demonstrate this, Alvin Goldman’s critique of internalism is shown to ignore important lessons from the case for direct realism about perception. In particular, it unjustifiably assumes that internalism entails that only facts simultaneous with the justification of a belief can justify the belief. Goldman’s definition of a “justifier” is also inconsistent with the overall guidance conception of epistemology he takes for granted in his critique of internalism.


Internalism Externalism Justification Direct realism Representationalism Perception Memory 



I am indebted to several individuals for useful feedback on earlier stages of this paper. These include especially Jennifer Woodward, Jon Altschul, Joe Berendzen, Ginger Hoffman, and other members of the Loyola University New Orleans philosophy research group. I would also like to thank an anonymous Acta Analytica referee for asking questions which helped to smooth out some of the paper’s rougher edges. Clyde Dunton-Gallagher responded to some of my ideas in this paper when they were delivered in response to a paper of his at a meeting of the Southern Society of Philosophy and Psychology, in Atlanta in April 2010. A number of personal conversations with Gregory Salmieri were instrumental in clarifying my thinking about memorial justification.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

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

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