Reasons for Reliabilism

In Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 146-176 (2021)
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One leading approach to justification comes from the reliabilist tradition, which maintains that a belief is justified provided that it is reliably formed. Another comes from the ‘Reasons First’ tradition, which claims that a belief is justified provided that it is based on reasons that support it. These two approaches are typically developed in isolation from each other; this essay motivates and defends a synthesis. On the view proposed here, justification is understood in terms of an agent’s reasons for belief, which are in turn analyzed along reliabilist lines: an agent's reasons for belief are the states that serve as inputs to their reliable processes. I show that this synthesis allows each tradition to profit from the other's explanatory resources. In particular, it enables reliabilists to explain epistemic defeat without abandoning their naturalistic ambitions. I go on to compare my proposed synthesis with other hybrid versions of reliabilism that have been proposed in the literature.
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