Bootstrap and rollback: Generalizing epistemic circularity

Jesper Kallestrup*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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
JournalSynthese
Volume189
Early online date9 Aug 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Epistemic bootstrapping
  • Epistemic circularity
  • Reliabilism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

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