Chapter

Can A Priori Entitlement be Preserved by Testimony?

Ram Neta

in Social Epistemology

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577477
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595189 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577477.003.0010
Can A Priori Entitlement be Preserved by Testimony?

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In his influential article “Content Preservation”, Tyler Burge argues for the highly unorthodox thesis that, at least under some circumstances, when someone who is a priori entitled to believe that p tells us that p, she thereby renders us a priori entitled to believe that p. Anna-Sara Malmgren has argued against this thesis, and raised objection to what she takes to be Burge's argument for it. After first laying out precisely what Burge's thesis, and his argument, amount to, this chapter shows that Malmgren's argument against Burge rests on a misinterpretation. But the chapter then goes on to argue that, even when correctly interpreted, Burge's argument still does not work: it rests on the premises that (a) what you're entitled to believe is closed under modus ponens consequence, and (b) having an a priori entitlement to believe that you're entitled to believe that p suffices for having an a priori entitlement to believe that p. (a) and (b) appear plausible only if we confuse the externalist kind of warrant that Burge calls “entitlement” with the internalist warrant that he calls “justification”.

Keywords: a priori entitlement; Burge; entitlement; externalist warrant; internalist warrant; Malmren

Chapter.  11008 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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