Internalism in the Epistemology of Testimony Redux

Erkenntnis 81 (4):741-755 (2016)
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Abstract

In general, epistemic internalists hold that an individual’s justification for a belief is exhausted by her reflectively accessible reasons for thinking that the contents of her beliefs are true. Applying this to the epistemology of testimony, a hearer’s justification for beliefs acquired through testimony is exhausted by her reflectively accessible reasons to think that the contents of the speaker’s testimony is true. A consequence of internalism is that subjects that are alike with respect to their reflectively accessible reasons are alike with respect to what they have justification to believe. Testimony should be thought no different: hearers that are alike with respect to reflectively accessible reasons to think that a speaker’s testimony is true are alike with respect to their justification for beliefs based upon that testimony. But it has been recently argued that this view faces powerful counterexamples. So the central question is this: assuming that a hearer can acquire justification to believe a proposition through the testimony of a speaker, can epistemic internalism provide the resources to explain how such justification is possible? My aim in this paper is to address these counterexamples, and in so doing, defend epistemic internalist accounts of testimony.

Author's Profile

B. J. C. Madison
United Arab Emirates University

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