© 2009

A Theory of Epistemic Justification


Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 112)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-IX
  2. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 1-18
  3. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 19-32
  4. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 33-51
  5. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 53-69
  6. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 71-96
  7. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 97-109
  8. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 111-142
  9. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 143-160
  10. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 161-177
  11. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 179-197
  12. Jarrett Leplin
    Pages 199-209
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 211-214

About this book


This book proposes an original theory of epistemic justification that offers a new way to relate justification to the epistemic goal of truth-conducive belief. The theory is based on a novel analysis of reliable belief-formation that answers classic objections to reliability theories in epistemology. The analysis generates a way of distinguishing justified belief from believing justifiedly, such that inerrant belief-formation need not be justificatory whereas systemic deception could be. It thereby respects the intuition that standards for justification must be accessible to the believer, while maintaining the essential connection of justification to truth.

The analysis shows how justification relates to, but is distinct from, evidence, rationality, and probability. It provides a unifying treatment of issues central to current debate in epistemology, including epistemic paradoxes, epistemic closure, skepticism, contextualism, virtue theories, the effect of luck on knowledge and justification, the interpretation of subjunctive conditions for justification, the conflict between internalism and externalism, and metaphilosophical evaluation of epistemological theories. There are further applications to metaphysics, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of science, and ethics.

The book will engage philosophers working in epistemology or related fields, and their graduate students.


Epistemology Evidence Inference Justification Knowledge Reliabilism Skepticism language metaphysics philosophy of language philosophy of science probability science truth

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Chapel HillUSA

About the authors

Jarrett Leplin is Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Amherst College in 1966, and his PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1972. He specializes in the philosophy of science and epistemology. He has lectured at over 50 universities and professional conferences, and is the author of over 100 publications, including "A Novel Defense of Scientific Realism", published by Oxford University Press in 1997. His work has focued on philosophical issues involving scientific method, the epistemology of scientific change, realism and instrumentalism, the nature of evidence, epistemic paradoxes, and reliabilist theories of justification and knowledge. He is the recipient of an NEH fellowship, an NEH summer stipend, and grants from the Philosophy of Science Association and the American Philosophical Society. Leplin has been Program Director of the Philosophy of Science Association and President of the North Carolina Philosophical Society.

Bibliographic information