Defeating phenomenal conservatism

Analytic Philosophy 52 (1):35-48 (2011)
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Abstract

According to the phenomenal conservatives, beliefs are justified by non-doxastic states we might speak of as ‘appearances’ or ‘seemings’. Those who defend the view say that there is something self-defeating about believing that phenomenal conservatism is mistaken. They also claim that the view captures an important internalist insight about justification. I shall argue that phenomenal conservatism is indefensible. The considerations that seem to support the view commit the phenomenal conservatives to condoning morally abhorrent behavior. They can deny that their view forces them to condone morally abhorrent behavior, but then they undercut the defenses of their own view.

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Clayton Littlejohn
Australian Catholic University

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