REIDBETWEENEXTERNALISMANDINTERNALISMJHP5.doc

Second i shall take externalism and internalism to

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Second, I shall take ‘externalism’ and ‘internalism’ to refer to different views as to the nature of the conditions that have to be satisfied in order for a belief to have PES. To explain the differences between internalism and externalism, I join in with Michael Bergmann who says: A condition for the positive epistemic status of a belief is internal if and only if a typical subject has special epistemic access to whether or not the condition is satisfied; otherwise the condition is external. A person has such access to a fact if she can tell by reflection alone whether or not the fact obtains. Thus, a typical internal condition which might be satisfied by S’s belief that p is that S try her best to fulfil her intellectual duties in believing p. That S’s belief that p is formed in a reliable manner is a typical external condition. 2 2 Michael Bergmann, “Internalism, Externalism, and the No-Defeater Condition”. Synthese 110 (1997): 399-417 at 400. Bergmann argues there are various internalism-externalism debate s ; the variety is due, in part, to various notions of ‘internal’, as well as to whether the debate concerns justification, warrant (i.e. the property that bridges the gap between mere true belief and knowledge) or any other positive epistemic status. William Alston distinguishes various forms of internalism (‘perspectival internalism’ and ‘access 2
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Third, in order to be able to see what is internalist and what externalist in Reid’s thought, we must therefore find answers to two questions: (1) What are the conditions for PES that Reid adopts? 3 (2) Are these conditions internal or external? Fourth and final: one might worry that the project for this paper is methodologically worrisome for the following reason: it aims to distil Reid’s views on a topic he never explicitly addresses, viz. whether the conditions for PES are internal or external—and hence that when Reid seems to be endorsing that beliefs with PES typically are X, or tend to have Y, one cannot immediately conclude from this that he regarded X or Y as necessary for PES. This worry can be alleviated, however, when we keep in mind that Reid was explicitly concerned, as we shall see shortly, with problems of the following sort: “Does a belief that lacks X lack PES in virtue of lacking X?” And if he thinks the answer is in the affirmative, we can safely conclude that Reid regarded X as necessary for PES. And if he thinks the answer is negative, then we may conclude he regarded X as not-necessary for PES. So, although Reid did not discuss the matters I propose to discuss, and other have discussed, in the terms I will be using, he did materially discuss these matters. internalism’) but argues that the one can be construed as an enlargement of the other. See his “Internalism and Externalism in Epistemology”, in: idem, Epistemic Justification. Essays in the Theory of Knowledge (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989): 185-226.
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  • Fall '19
  • Test, Belief, Internalism and externalism, Thomas Reid

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