Internalism and Entitlement to Rules and Methods

In Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen & Peter J. Graham (eds.), Epistemic Entitlement. Oxford University Press (2020)
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In our thought, we employ rules of inference and belief-forming methods more generally. For instance, we (plausibly) employ deductive rules such as Modus Ponens, ampliative rules such as Inference to the Best Explanation, and perceptual methods that tell us to believe what perceptually appears to be the case. What explains our entitlement to employ these rules and methods? This chapter considers the motivations for broadly internalist answers to this question. It considers three such motivations—one based on simple cases, one based on a general conception of epistemic responsibility, and one based on skeptical scenarios. The chapter argues that none of these motivations is successful. The first two motivations lead to forms of internalism—Extreme Method Internalism and Defense Internalism—that are too strong to be tenable. The third motivation motivates Mental Internalism (Mentalism), which does not fit with plausible accounts of entitlement.

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Joshua Schechter
Brown University


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