Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Eucleides, David Hildebrand and Alvin I. Goldman

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8 ideas

13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 3. Internal or External / a. Pro-internalism
A belief can be justified when the person has forgotten the evidence for it [Goldman]
     Full Idea: A characteristic case in which a belief is justified though the cognizer doesn't know that it's justified is where the original evidence for the belief has long since been forgotten.
     From: Alvin I. Goldman (What is Justified Belief? [1976], II)
     A reaction: This is a central problem for any very literal version of internalism. The fully rationalist view (to which I incline) will be that the cognizer must make a balanced assessment of whether they once had the evidence. Were my teachers any good?
We can't only believe things if we are currently conscious of their justification - there are too many [Goldman]
     Full Idea: Strong internalism says only current conscious states can justify beliefs, but this has the problem of Stored Beliefs, that most of our beliefs are stored in memory, and one's conscious state includes nothing that justifies them.
     From: Alvin I. Goldman (Internalism Exposed [1999], 2)
     A reaction: This point seems obviously correct, but one could still have a 'fairly strong' version, which required that you could always call into consciousness the justificiation for any belief that you happened to remember.
Internalism must cover Forgotten Evidence, which is no longer retrievable from memory [Goldman]
     Full Idea: Even weak internalism has the problem of Forgotten Evidence; the agent once had adequate evidence that she subsequently forgot; at the time of epistemic appraisal, she no longer has adequate evidence that is retrievable from memory.
     From: Alvin I. Goldman (Internalism Exposed [1999], 3)
     A reaction: This is certainly a basic problem for any account of justification. It will rule out any strict requirement that there be actual mental states available to support a belief. Internalism may be pushed to include non-conscious parts of the mind.
Internal justification needs both mental stability and time to compute coherence [Goldman]
     Full Idea: The problem for internalists of Doxastic Decision Interval says internal justification must avoid mental change to preserve the justification status, but must also allow enough time to compute the formal relations between beliefs.
     From: Alvin I. Goldman (Internalism Exposed [1999], 4)
     A reaction: The word 'compute' implies a rather odd model of assessing coherence, which seems instantaneous for most of us where everyday beliefs are concerned. In real mental life this does not strike me as a problem.
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 3. Internal or External / b. Pro-externalism
If justified beliefs are well-formed beliefs, then animals and young children have them [Goldman]
     Full Idea: If one shares my view that justified belief is, at least roughly, well-formed belief, surely animals and young children can have justified beliefs.
     From: Alvin I. Goldman (What is Justified Belief? [1976], III)
     A reaction: I take this to be a key hallmark of the externalist view of knowledge. Personally I think we should tell the animals that they have got true beliefs, but that they aren't bright enough to aspire to 'knowledge'. Be grateful for what you've got.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / c. Coherentism critique
Coherent justification seems to require retrieving all our beliefs simultaneously [Goldman]
     Full Idea: The problem of Concurrent Retrieval is a problem for internalism, notably coherentism, because an agent could ascertain coherence of her entire corpus only by concurrently retrieving all of her stored beliefs.
     From: Alvin I. Goldman (Internalism Exposed [1999], 3)
     A reaction: Sounds neat, but not very convincing. Goldman is relying on scepticism about short-term memory, but all belief and knowledge will collapse if we go down that road. We couldn't do simple arithmetic if Goldman's point were right.
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 3. Reliabilism / a. Reliable knowledge
Justification depends on the reliability of its cause, where reliable processes tend to produce truth [Goldman]
     Full Idea: The justificational status of a belief is a function of the reliability of the processes that cause it, where (provisionally) reliability consists in the tendency of a process to produce beliefs that are true rather than false.
     From: Alvin I. Goldman (What is Justified Belief? [1976], II)
     A reaction: Goldman's original first statement of reliabilism, now the favourite version of externalism. The obvious immediate problem is when a normally very reliable process goes wrong. Wise people still get it wrong, or right for the wrong reasons.
Reliability involves truth, and truth is external [Goldman]
     Full Idea: Reliability involves truth, and truth (on the usual assumption) is external.
     From: Alvin I. Goldman (Internalism Exposed [1999], 6)
     A reaction: As an argument for externalism this seems bogus. I am not sure that truth is either 'internal' or 'external'. How could the truth of 3+2=5 be external? Facts are mostly external, but I take truth to be a relation between internal and external.