Possessing epistemic reasons: the role of rational capacities

Philosophical Studies 176 (2):483-501 (2019)
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In this paper, I defend a reasons-first view of epistemic justification, according to which the justification of our beliefs arises entirely in virtue of the epistemic reasons we possess. I remove three obstacles for this view, which result from its presupposition that epistemic reasons have to be possessed by the subject: the problem that reasons-first accounts of justification are necessarily circular; the problem that they cannot give special epistemic significance to perceptual experience; the problem that they have to say that implicit biases provide epistemic. The first problem will be overcome by introducing presentational attitudes that are not in need of justification as basic ways of possessing epistemic reasons. The latter two problems will be solved by introducing epistemic rational capacities of two different kinds, which are exercised in mental states that are ways of possessing epistemic reasons, and by distinguishing these from mental states that are not exercises of epistemic rational capacities.

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Eva Schmidt
TU Dortmund


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