The pseudo-problems of epistemic reliabilism

Ogundiwin, Aderonke Adeyinka (2015)

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Thesis

The study identified and characterised reliabilism as a theory of epistemic justification. It identified and examined problems that were raised against reliabilism. It also assessed epistemic reliabilism from the viewpoint of belief-forming processes. This was with a view to presenting reliabilism as a viable theory of epistemic justification. The study employed both primary and secondary sources of data. The primary source comprised a close reading of Alvin I. Goldman’s“Process Reliabilism”, Earl Conee and Richard Feldman’s “The Generality Problem for Reliabilism” , Alvin Goldman’s“Epistemic Folkways and Scientific Epistemology”, JarretLeplin’s“In Defense of Reliabilism”, Michael Levin’s “You Can Always Count on Reliabilism”, Kent Bach’s “A Rationale for Reliabilism”, Peter J. Markie’sGoldman’s New Reliabilism”, Richard Foley’s “What’s Wrong with Reliabilism?”, Stephen K. McLeod’s “Rationalism and Modal Knowledge”, Eric J. Olsson’s “Reliabilism, Stability and the Value of Knowledge”, and Jonathan Vogel’s “Reliabilism Leveled”. The secondary source included books, journal articles and the Internet. The data collected were subjected to conceptual analysis and philosophical argumentation. The results showed that epistemic reliabilism was an adequate theory of justification. The study found that bootstrapping, swamping and the new evil demon problem were unfounded when assessed in relation to the belief-formation principle of reliabilism. It also found that in spite of the generality problem and the problem of induction and circularity which raised intense criticisms against reliabilism, a clear identification of the principles of belief-formation, epistemic rationality and the notion of genuine option makes them minimally avoidable. The study concluded that the swamping, bootstrapping and the new evil demon problems were not sufficient to destroy epistemic reliabilism. It also concluded that epistemic reliabilism was a viable and pragmatic theory of epistemic justification.

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