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Knowing Full Well$
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Ernest Sosa

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691143972

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691143972.001.0001

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Epistemic Circularity

Epistemic Circularity

(p.140) Chapter Eight Epistemic Circularity
Knowing Full Well

Ernest Sosa

Princeton University Press

This chapter defends the epistemic circularity involved in meta-aptness and thereby in the full aptness of knowing full well. It begins by explaining two forms of bootstrapping: the inference from the perceptual belief that a seen surface is red to the conclusion that in so believing we are not misled by a white surface in bad light, and the inductive inference from the track record of a gauge to the conclusion that it is a reliable gauge. Each is formally valid, yet neither could possibly provide adequate justification for its conclusion. The chapter offers an explanation for why this is so, before moving on to the reliability of a competence that is not reason-involving. Finally, this chapter advances an argument in defense of trust in our epistemic faculties, one that involves circularity of a sort, and how such circularity can be considered virtuous.

Keywords:   epistemic circularity, meta-aptness, bootstrapping, trust, epistemic faculties, circularity, virtue epistemology

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