The basic notion of justification
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Our tasks are then complete. We offered, in J7, a defensible claim that there is a relation of necessity and sufficiency between doxastic and propositional justification. We claimed as well that propositional justification is the basic kind of justification. In order to defend this claim, several tasks were undertaken. First, a preliminary investigation showed that there are at most three irreducible kinds of justification. In order to show that there is only one kind, we first showed how personal justification is equivalent to doxastic justification. We then showed that, whereas doxastic justification can be defined in terms of propositional justification, propositional justification cannot be defined in terms of that kind of doxastic justification predicable of tokens of beliefs. We conclude that propositional justification is the basic kinds of justification. These results have implications both for the substance of epistemology and for the methodology employed in constructing an epistemological theory. First, no version of reliabilism can be defended by claiming that there are fundamentally distinct and irreducible notions of justification. Further, the procedure adopted by those versions of reliabilism which count as instances of Aristotelian epistemology cannot be correct. Such theories begin by discussing our intellectual powers, faculties, virtues, or cognitive processes and then define a primitive notion of justification in terms of the doxastic products of such powers, faculties, virtues, or processes. This approach cannot succeed, for, as we have seen, no such theory can given an adequate explanation of the connection between doxastic and propositional justification. For these theories to succeed, one of three alternatives must be available. The first is that propositional justification is explicable in terms of doxastic justification; as we have seen, that claim is false. The second and third alternatives are that Aristotelians either might claim irreducibility between propositional and doxastic justification, or the might hold that, for some reason or other, there is no such thing as propositional justification. Both of these alternatives are unattractive because of the plausibility of J7. If it is adequate, then doxastic justification is explicable in terms of propositional justification. Further, if J7 is adequate, claiming that there is no such thing as propositional justification puts the notion of doxastic justification in jeopardy as well, for doxastic justification is definable in terms of propositional justification. In sum: present reliabilist theories which hold that justification is the result of the proper employment of our cognitive equipment, and which are thereby committed to constructing a theory of justification with doxastic justification as the basic notion of justification, are incompatible with the fact that propositional justification is the basic kind of justification. 1990 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
author list (cited authors)
Kvanvig, J. L., & Menzel, C.
complete list of authors
Kvanvig, Jonathan L||Menzel, Christopher