Phenomenal conservatism and Bergmann's dilemma

Luca Moretti, Tommaso Piazza

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper we argue that Michael Huemer’s (PC) phenomenal conservatism—the internalist view according to which our beliefs are prima facie justified if based on how things seems or appears to us to be—doesn’t fall afoul of Michael Bergmann’s dilemma for epistemological internalism. We start by showing that the thought experiment that Bergmann adduces to conclude that (PC) is vulnerable to his dilemma misses its target. After that, we distinguish between two ways in which a mental state can contribute to the justification of a belief: the direct way and the indirect way. We identify a straightforward reason for claiming that the justification contributed indirectly is subject to Bergmann’s dilemma. Then we show that the same reason doesn’t extend to the claim that the justification contributed directly is subject to Bergmann’s dilemma. As (PC) is the view that seemings or appearances contribute justification directly, we infer that Bergmann’s contention that his dilemma applies to (PC) is unmotivated. In the final part, we suggest that our line of response to Bergmann can be used to shield other types of internalist justification from Bergmann’s objection. We also propose that seeming-grounded justification can be combined with justification of one of these types to form the basis of a promising version of internalist foundationalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2071-2090
Number of pages20
Issue number6
Early online date4 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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