Does Doxastic Justification Have a Basing Requirement?

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):371-387 (2015)
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The distinction between propositional and doxastic justification is the distinction between having justification to believe P (= propositional justification) versus having a justified belief in P (= doxastic justification). The focus of this paper is on doxastic justification and on what conditions are necessary for having it. In particular, I challenge the basing demand on doxastic justification, i.e., the idea that one can have a doxastically justified belief only if one’s belief is based on an epistemically appropriate reason. This demand has been used to refute versions of coherentism and conservatism about perceptual justification as well as to defend phenomenal “conservatism” and other views besides. In what follows I argue that there is virtually no reason to think there is a basing demand on doxastic justification. I also argue that even if the basing demand were true, it would still fail to serve the dialectical purposes for which it has been employed in arguments concerning coherentism, conservatism, and phenomenal “conservatism”. I conclude by discussing the fact that knowledge has a basing demand and show why this needn’t raise the same sort of problems for coherentism and conservatism that doxastic justification’s basing demand seemed to.

Author's Profile

Paul Silva Jr.
University of Cologne


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