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Episteme

Abstract

Should we be impressed by Plantinga’s radical take on episteme warrant? Not really. The author of this paper is convinced by Plantinga’s negative arguments against former theories of warrant but critical of the proposed theory of proper functionality. The Case of the God-Given Epistemically Serendipitous Lesion does not work for Plantinga, as can be illustrated clearly be analyzing the Part-Time Mind Reader from an old The Twilight Zone episode. External reliability is important, sure, but the cognizer herself must recognize that the faculty or process is reliable. Contra Plantinga, the author formulates a new theory of warrant that takes into account cognitive means, things like “I saw it” and “I read it in the newspaper,” which vary in reliability by person, context, etc. These are necessarily weaker justifications than those Plantinga puts forth unsuccessfully, but they do align with Humean coherence. The author believes his proposed new theory improves upon its influences.

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