Why No True Reliabilist Should Endorse Reliabilism

Episteme:1-18 (forthcoming)
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Critics have recently argued that reliabilists face trade-off problems, forcing them to condone intuitively unjustified beliefs when they generate lots of true belief further downstream. What these critics overlook is that reliabilism entails that there are side-constraints on belief-formation, on account of which there are some things you should not believe, even if doing so would have very good epistemic consequences. However, we argue that by embracing side-constraints the reliabilist faces a dilemma: she can either hold on to reliabilism, and with it aforementioned side-constraints, but then needs to explain why we should allow the pursuit of justification to get in the way of the acquisition of true belief; or she can deny that there are side-constraints – and in effect give up on reliabilism. We'll suggest that anyone moved by the considerations that likely attract people to reliabilism in the first place – the idea the true belief is good, and as such should be promoted – should go for the second horn, and instead pursue a form of epistemic utilitarianism.
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Archival date: 2021-02-19
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