Epistemic internalism and testimonial justification

Episteme 17 (4):458-474 (2020)
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Abstract
ABSTRACTAccording to epistemic internalists, facts about justification supervene upon one's internal reasons for believing certain propositions. Epistemic externalists, on the other hand, deny this. More specifically, externalists think that the supervenience base of justification isn't exhausted by one's internal reasons for believing certain propositions. In the last decade, the internalism–externalism debate has made its mark on the epistemology of testimony. The proponent of internalism about the epistemology of testimony claims that a hearer's testimonial justification for believing that p supervenes upon his internal reasons for thinking that the speaker's testimony that p is true. Recently, however, several objections have been raised against this view. In this paper, I present an argument providing intuitive support for internalism about the epistemology of testimony. Moreover, I also defend the argument against three recent objections offered by Stephen Wright in a couple of recent papers. The upshot of my discussion is that external conditions do make an epistemic difference when it comes to our testimonial beliefs, but that they cannot make any difference with respect to their justificatory status – i.e., they are justificationally irrelevant.
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Archival date: 2018-12-06
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