From One Conservative to Another: A Critique of Epistemic Conservatism

Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (2):167-186 (2021)
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Epistemic conservatism maintains that some beliefs are immediately justified simply because they are believed. The intuitive implausibility of this claim sets the burden of proof against it. Some epistemic conservatives have sought to lessen this burden by limiting its scope, but I show that they cannot remove it entirely. The only hope for epistemic conservativism is to appeal to its theoretical fruit. However, such a defense is undercut by the introduction of phenomenal conservatism, which accomplishes the same work from a more intuitive starting point. Thus, if one opts for conservatism, better to choose the phenomenal kind.

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Blake McAllister
Hillsdale College


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