Bootstrap and rollback: Generalizing epistemic circularity

Jesper Kallestrup*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Reliabilists accept the possibility of basic knowledge-knowledge that p in virtue of the reliability of some belief-producing process r without antecedent knowledge that r is reliable. Cohen (Philos Phenomenol Res 65:309-329, 2002, Philos Phenomenol Res 70:417-430, 2005) and Vogel (J Philos 97:602-623, 2000, J Philos 105:518-539, 2008) have argued that one can bootstrap knowledge that r is reliable from basic knowledge. This paper provides a diagnosis of epistemic bootstrapping, and then shows that recent attempts at embracing bootstrapped knowledge are found wanting. Instead it is argued that such arguments are afflicted by a novel kind of generalized epistemic circularity. The ensuing view is defended against various objections, and an explanation of the source of that circularity is offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-413
Number of pages19
Early online date9 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Epistemic bootstrapping
  • Epistemic circularity
  • Reliabilism


Dive into the research topics of 'Bootstrap and rollback: Generalizing epistemic circularity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this