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Scientific Evidence and the Internalism-Externalism Distinction
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5522-6777
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Considerations of scientific evidence are often thought to provide externalism with the dialectical upper hand in the internalism-externalism debate. How so? A couple of reasons can be found in the literature. 1) Williamson (2000) argues that the E = K thesis (in contrast to internalism) provides the best explanation for the fact that scientists appear to argue from premises about true propositions (or facts) that are common knowledge among the members of the scientific community. 2) Kelly (2008; 2016) argues that only externalism is suited to account for the public character of scientific evidence. In this presentation I respond to Williamson and Kelly's arguments. First, I show that the E = K thesis isn't supported by the way in which we talk about scientific evidence, and that it is unable to account for facts about what has been regarded as scientific evidence and as justified scientific belief in the history of science. Second, I argue that there are internalist views that can account for the publicity of scientific evidence, and that those views indeed do better in that regard than the (externalist) view proposed by Kelly. The upshot is that considerations of scientific evidence do not favor externalism over internalism.  

Keywords [en]
Evidence, Justification
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-179083OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-179083DiVA, id: diva2:1393976
Available from: 2020-02-17 Created: 2020-02-17 Last updated: 2020-02-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Internalism and the Nature of Justification
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Internalism and the Nature of Justification
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There are many important dimensions of epistemic evaluation, one of which is justification. We don’t just evaluate beliefs for truth, reliability, accuracy, and knowledge, but also for justification. However, in the epistemological literature, there is much disagreement about the nature of justification and how it should be understood. One of the controversies that has separated the contemporary epistemological discourse into two opposing camps has to do with the internalism-externalism distinction. Whereas internalists defend certain core assumptions about justification from the pre-Gettier tradition, externalists generally think that the traditional conception is untenable and should be replaced.

In this compilation thesis, I argue for, defend, and develop a particular brand of internalism, both in general and with respect to specific sources of justification. In papers 1 and 2, I defend a couple of well-known arguments for mentalism and accessibilism. Moreover, I also point out how prominent versions of these theses are vulnerable to serious problems (e.g., about over-intellectualization and vicious regresses). Part of my goal in the first couple of papers is to figure out what commitments the internalist should take on in order to avoid the externalist's objections, while at the same time receiving support from considerations that have motivated internalism in the past. In papers 3 and 4, I start from the assumption that mentalism is true and attempt to answer the following questions: 1) which non-factive mental states can play a justification-conferring role with respect to empirical belief? And 2) why does this set of states play the epistemic role it does? In response to question 1, I argue that all and only one's beliefs and perceptual experiences have justificatory relevance. In response to question 2, I argue that one's beliefs and perceptual experiences are one's strongly representational states, and that strongly representational states necessarily provide support to certain empirical propositions. Having done so, I then defend mentalism about scientific evidence from a couple of prominent objections in the recent literature. Lastly, in papers 5 and 6, I argue for a particular brand of internalism about testimonial and memorial justification and show how that position has a dialectical advantage over its main competitors. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University, 2020. p. 47
Keywords
Justification, Internalism, Evidence, Rationality, Testimony, Memory
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-179085 (URN)978-91-7911-066-6 (ISBN)978-91-7911-067-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-04-22, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 6: Accepted.

Available from: 2020-03-30 Created: 2020-02-17 Last updated: 2020-03-18Bibliographically approved

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