Rethinking the Relation Between Knowledge, Evidence, and Justification
Let Evidentialism be the thesis on which one’s justification supervenes on one’s evidence (cf. Conee and Feldman, 2004). On the orthodox way of understanding doxastic justification in evidentialist terms, one is doxastically justified in believing that p only if one believes that p on the basis of one’s evidence that stands in an appropriate evidential-support relation towards p. On this view, justification is a matter of appropriately believing in the light of the evidence one has. Call this view ‘Evidence-first Evidentialism’. Williamson (2000, 2011, forthcoming) has a different view of doxastic justification. He argues that doxastic justification is a matter of complying with the Knowledge Norm of Belief, so that one is doxastically justified in believing that p iff one knows that p. By reducing one’s justification to one’s knowledge, Williamson’s view does not seem to account for the orthodox thesis that sees doxastic justification as a matter of being evidence-responsive. However, given Williamson’s notorious equation between evidence and knowledge (E=K), his view is also an instance of evidentialism as defined above. I shall call this view ‘Knowledge-first Evidentialism’.
By looking at the role evidence plays in different kinds of knowledge, I develop a novel ‘hybrid’ evidentialist theory of doxastic justification, one that accounts for the orthodox evidence-responsiveness claim underpinning Evidence-first Evidentialism, while remaining in the spirit of Knowledge-first Epistemology.
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Senior lecturer jani.hakkarainen [at] tuni.fi (Jani Hakkarainen), 040 190 4125