Hilary Kornblith

in On Reflection

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199563005
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745263 | DOI:

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It is tempting to hold that a belief which is held unreflectively is not justified, and therefore, cannot constitute knowledge. Justification seems to be something which we achieve, rather than something which merely happens to us. More than this, when we hold a belief unreflectively, it seems that we have failed to be even minimally responsible, since it often happens that such beliefs are the product of hasty generalization, prejudice, or simply careless thinking. All of this suggests that in order for a belief to be justified, it must have been reflectively evaluated. This requirement is shown to be untenable, however, for it leads to an infinite regress. Technical fixes for the regress problem face an empirical difficulty: they presuppose that reflective evaluation is itself reliably performed and thus that reflective checking on one’s beliefs will improve the accuracy of the resulting conclusions drawn. Work in social psychology, however, shows that this is not generally the case. The value of reflective checking is thus called into doubt.

Keywords: knowledge; justification; epistemic responsibility; animal knowledge; reflective knowledge; Laurence Bonjour; Ernest Sosa

Chapter.  15136 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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