Article ID: CBB479527035

Reliabilism, Scepticism, and Evidentia in Ockham (2019)


The aim of this paper is to challenge the reliabilist interpretation of William Ockham (ca. 1287–1347)'s epistemology. The discussion proceeds as follows. First, I analyse the reliabilist interpretation into two theses: (1) a negative thesis I call the Anti-Internalism Thesis, according to which, for Ockham, epistemic justification does not depend on any internal factors that are accessible by reflection; (2) a positive thesis I call the Reliability Thesis, according to which epistemic justification in Ockham depends on the reliability of a causal process through which a given judgment is produced. Secondly, I argue that the Anti-Internalism Thesis fails since Ockham's notion of evidentness (evidentia), which is at the heart of his theory of justification, strongly suggests that he posits an indispensable, internalist element of justification. Lastly, I argue that the Reliability Thesis also fails since not only can there be a reliable but inevident judgment in Ockham's framework, his emphasis on causality is best read not as talk of reliability, but as his emphasis on the relation between reason (or evidence) and what is based on reason.

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Authors & Contributors
Bonin, Therese M.
LoLordo, Antonia
Martínez, Rafael A.
Klemme, Heiner F.
Lehrich, Christopher I.
Shorto, Russell
Acta Philosophica
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Vivarium: Journal for Mediaeval Philosophy and the Intellectual Life of the Middle Ages
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Oxford University Press
University of Notre Dame Press
Cornell University Press
University of California, Irvine
Philosophy of science
Ockham, William of
Descartes, René
Hume, David
Buridan, Jean
Kant, Immanuel
Albertus Magnus
Time Periods
17th century
14th century
19th century
18th century
20th century

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