Radical epistemology, structural explanations, and epistemic weaponry

Philosophical Studies 179 (1):289-304 (2022)
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When is a belief justified? There are three families of arguments we typically use to support different accounts of justification: arguments from our intuitive responses to vignettes that involve the concept; arguments from the theoretical role we would like the concept to play in epistemology; and arguments from the practical, moral, and political uses to which we wish to put the concept. I focus particularly on the third sort, and specifically on arguments of this sort offered by Clayton Littlejohn in Justification and the Truth-Connection and Amia Srinivasan in ‘Radical Externalism’ : 395–431, 2018) in favour of externalism. I counter Srinivasan’s argument in two ways: first, I show that the internalist’s concept of justification might figure just as easily in the sorts of structural explanation Srinivasan thinks our political goals require us to give; and I argue that the internalist’s concept is needed for a particular political task, namely, to help us build more effective defences against what I call epistemic weapons. I conclude that we should adopt an Alstonian pluralism about the concept of justification.
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First archival date: 2020-01-29
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