A Better Disjunctivist Response to the 'New Evil Genius' Challenge

Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (1-2):101-125 (2017)
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This paper aims for a more robust epistemological disjunctivism (ED) by offering on its behalf a new and better response to the ‘new evil genius’ problem. The first section articulates the ‘new evil genius challenge’ (NEG challenge) to ED, specifying its two components: the ‘first-order’ and ‘diagnostic’ problems for ED. The first-order problem challenges proponents of ED to offer some explanation of the intuition behind the thought that your radically deceived duplicate is no less justified than you are for adopting her perceptual beliefs. In the second section, I argue that 'blamelessness' explanations are inadequate to the task and offer better explanations in their place—that of ‘trait-level virtue’ and ‘reasonability’. The diagnostic problem challenges proponents of ED to explain why it is that classical internalists disagree with them about how to interpret 'new evil genius' considerations. The proponent of ED owes some error theory. I tackle this problem in the third section, arguing that classical internalists overlook disjunctivist interpretations of new evil genius intuitions owing to a mistaken commitment to a ‘vindicatory’ explanation of perceptual knowledge.

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Kegan Shaw
University of Edinburgh


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