Closure Provides No Relief from the Problem of Easy Knowledge
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Closure principles loom large in recent internalist critiques of epistemic externalism. Cohen (Philos Phenomenol Res 65:309–329, 2002, Philos Phenomenol Res 70:417–430, 2005), Vogel (J Philos 97:602–623, 2000), and Fumerton (Meta-Epistemology and skepticism. Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, 1995) argue that, given closure, epistemic externalism is committed to the possibility of implausibly easy knowledge. By contrast, Zalabardo (Philos Rev 114:33–61, 2005) proposes that epistemic closure actually precludes the possibility of easy knowledge, and appeals to closure principles to solve the problem of easy knowledge. In my view, disagreement over closure’s bearing on externalism and the problem of easy knowledge is rooted in a failure to bear in mind the familiar distinction between ex ante and ex post forms of epistemic justification and warrant. When this distinction is kept in focus, the result is clear: epistemic closure provides no relief from the problem of easy knowledge.
KeywordsKnowledge Warrant Justification Closure Transmission
Thanks to Eric Barnes, Justin Fisher, Robert Howell, Brad Thompson, and three anonymous referees for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.
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