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Belief-Independent Processes and the Generality Problem for Reliabilism

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Abstract:

Abstract

The Generality Problem for process reliabilism is to outline a procedure for determining when two beliefs are produced by the same process, in such a way as to avoid, on the one hand, individuating process types so narrowly that each type is instantiated only once, or, on the other hand, individuating them so broadly that beliefs that have different epistemic statuses are subsumed under the same process type. In this paper, I offer a solution to the problem which takes belief-independent processes to be functions that take as inputs information about distal states of affairs, and produce beliefs as outputs. Processes are individuated narrowly, so as to avoid the latter aspect of the Generality problem, but, by holding process tokens to be of the same type when they take perceptually equivalent scenes as inputs, and produce beliefs of the same kind as outputs, the former aspect of the problem is avoided too. Having argued that this method of typing process tokens solves the Generality Problem, I then argue that my solution does not fall prey to objections that have been, or might be, raised for similar proposals.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1746-8361.2005.01002.x

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Hofstra University, Hempstead NY 11549-1000, USA;, Email: phimvm@hofstra.edu

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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