Internalism and the Problem of Stored Beliefs
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A belief is stored if it is in no way before the subject’s mind. The problem of stored beliefs is that of satisfactorily explaining how the stored beliefs which seem justified are indeed justified. In this paper I challenge the two main internalist attempts to solve this problem. Internalism about epistemic justification, at a minimum, states that one’s mental life alone determines what one is justified in believing. First I dispute the attempt from epistemic conservatism, which states that believing justifies retaining belief. Then I defend the attempt from dispositionalism, which assigns a justifying role to dispositions, from some key objections. But by drawing on cognitive psychological research I show that, for internalism, the problem of stored beliefs remains.
KeywordsPrima Facie Justify Belief Mental Life Evil Demon Propositional Justification
For helpful comments and conversation on a draft of this paper, I thank Earl Conee, Richard Feldman, Kevin McCain, Matthew McGrath, Andrew Moon, Thomas Senor, an audience at the 2015 Alabama Philosophical Society Conference, and two anonymous referees. I revised this paper while supported by a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust. The opinions expressed in this paper are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Templeton Religion Trust.
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