Epistemological Consequences and Criticisms

Bill Brewer

in Perception and Reason

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780199250455
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597114 | DOI:
 Epistemological Consequences and Criticisms

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Draws out the fatal consequences of thesis (R) for any reliabilist account of perceptual knowledge; also contains extended critical discussions of the classical foundationalistand classical coherentistattempts to elucidate the truth of (R). Both of these are attempts to give what I call a second‐orderaccount, on which perceptual experiences provide reasons for empirical beliefs only in virtue of the subject's second‐order reflection upon the reliability of the first‐order process by which such experiences produce such beliefs, where the first and second orders are independent of each other in the sense that he might equally have acquired the same beliefs by just the same first‐order method yet not have had the second‐order knowledge in question. In order to give a satisfying elucidation of the truth of (R), then, as I believe we must, we should look to a first‐orderaccount, on which the truth of (R) emerges directly out of a correct account of a person's possession of certain beliefs about the mind‐independent world around him, out of an elaboration of what is involved in his grasping their determinate empirical contents, rather than from any independent requirement upon his second‐order reflection upon the process by which he acquires such beliefs.

Keywords: coherentism; foundationalism; reliabilism

Chapter.  21788 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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