Epistemic Externalism and Internalism

  • Duncan Pritchard
Part of the Palgrave Philosophy Today book series (PPT)


At the end of chapter 1, we considered how the externalism/internalism distinction regarding knowledge is usually characterised. Recall that we defined this distinction in terms of whether one regarded an internal epistemic condition as being necessary for knowledge, where an internal epistemic condition is a condition that one can determine that one has satisfied by reflection alone. Typically, the internal epistemic condition in question is the justification condition, as it is conceived of in the classical theory of knowledge. Construed this way, the epistemic externalism/internalism distinction collapses into the question of whether one thinks that justification — i.e., the demand that one is able to offer good reflectively accessible reasons in support of one’s belief — is necessary for knowledge. If one thinks that this is required for knowledge, then one is an epistemic internalist about knowledge. But if one thinks, at least sometimes anyway, that one can have knowledge while lacking a justification in this sense, then one is an epistemic externalist about knowledge.


Rational Support Justification Condition Mental Content Perceptual Belief Perceptual Knowledge 
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Copyright information

© Duncan Pritchard 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duncan Pritchard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK

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