Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Most proponents of a naturalistic approach to epistemology seem to feel forced to endorse a process reliabilist theory of justification, ostensibly to forestall charges that their naturalistic views can yield only a descriptive account of belief that is devoid of normative force. This reliabilist approach to justification depends upon an externalist grounding, holding that belief-fixing and sustaining processes and procedures are reliable because they generally produce beliefs that are objectively true. This dissertation will explore some of the problems for the standard externalist approach that naturalists usually favor, and then show that, while the frequent conjoining of naturalist epistemology and process reliabilism found in the literature might lead one to believe that there are strong implications from epistemic naturalism to externalism, there is in fact a largely unexplored philosophical space that combines naturalized epistemology and justificatory internalism. A version of process reliabilism that is compatible with both naturalism and internalism will then be developed and defended from several potential objections. This theory of justification will demonstrate that internalism concerning epistemic justification is more compatible with naturalistic epistemological commitments than has previously been noted, and that many naturalists, perhaps having failed to fully consider this option, may have been too hasty in adopting externalist views of justification.
Pike, Matthew R., "Caught in the Web: Internalizing a Naturalistic Theory of Epistemic Justification" (2017). Philosophy Graduate Theses & Dissertations. 64.