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Scepticism and Perceptual Justification$
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Dylan Dodd and Elia Zardini

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658343

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658343.001.0001

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On Epistemic Alchemy*

On Epistemic Alchemy*

Chapter:
(p.173) 9 On Epistemic Alchemy*
Source:
Scepticism and Perceptual Justification
Author(s):

Aidan McGlynn

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658343.003.0009

Crispin Wright has proposed that one has entitlements to accept certain propositions that play a foundational role within one’s body of belief. Such an entitlement is a kind of warrant that does not require the possessor to have acquired evidence speaking in favour of the proposition in question. The proposal allows Wright to concede much of the force of the most powerful arguments for scepticism, while avoiding the truly sceptical conclusion that one lacks warrant for most of one’s beliefs. Here the chapter argues that Wright has underestimated a problem for his proposal, the alchemy problem, which is that it seems to make room for the easy conversion of mere entitlement to accept a proposition into justification to believe it. The chapter questions the adequacy of Wright’s own response to this worry, and instead explore the idea that epistemic alchemy, properly understood, is not epistemically objectionable.

Keywords:   cornerstone propositions, entitlement, epistemic closure principles, justification, Moore’s proof, scepticism, transmission of warrant, warrant, Wright

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