Article/Publication Details

The Un(Holy) Grail of Epistemology

(Original title: The Un(Holy) Grail of Epistemology)
Organon F, 2015, vol. 22, No 1, pp. 21-33.
Language: English
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As formulated by Duncan Pritchard and John McDowell, epistemological disjunctivism is the claim that perceptual experience can provide the subject with epistemic justification that is reflectively accessible and externally grounded at the same time. Pritchard calls this thesis ‘the holy grail of epistemology’, since it reconciles two traditionally rival theories of justification, namely epistemic internalism and epistemic externalism. The main objection against epistemological disjunctivism thus understood is that it does not do justice to the well-known internalist intuitions expressed in The New Evil Demon and Brain-in-a-Vat scenarios. I defend epistemological disjunctivism from this objection by indicating that those who apply to such scenarios commit themselves to implausible views in the philosophy of mind. I conclude that epistemological disjunctivism accurately expresses the epistemological attitude of a non-reductive materialist regarding the body-mind problem.


Accessibilism, Brain-in-a-Vat, epistemic justification, epistemological disjunctivism, internalism-externalism distinction, mentalism, the body-mind problem, The New Evil Demon

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