Internalism Externalism

August 28, 2012 — Leave a comment

Notes from Stanford Encyclopedia and Lemos

italics are quotes from Stanford Encyclopedia

The rationalist is engaged in internalism

The empiricist is engaged in externalism

Perhaps internalism is in danger of wandering to far into the abstract and disconnecting from outcomes and further, experience based consequences or connections made via knowledge?…

Internalism suggests that a person has a form of access to the basis for knowledge or justified belief. The person either is or can be aware of this basis. Knowing by reflection refers to the concept that when we know something, we know we are knowing it, and when we believe something we know know we are believing it and not knowing it. Knowing by reflecting on knowing, is knowledge that can be attained only directly.

Knowing by reflection is knowledge one achieves merely by thinking about the matter at hand. Further, even if one reflects a good deal, Prichard holds that the knowing thereby achieved is direct knowing, presumably because one need make no inferences from one belief to another in the activity of reflecting.

This system of logic also implies that knowledge consists of knowing that one knows. This is particular to Prichard, but other philosophers include the notion of knowing the basis on which one knows something. For instance, a tram will arrive in 10mins. You know this because your friend is on it, knows what tram stop you are at and the approximate traveling time and has called you to inform you. This basis for your knowledge is equally important in constituting an internalism theory.

Using this terminology, we could say that knowledge internalism is the thesis that a person either is aware or can be become aware of the knowledge basis for each item of knowledge that person may have.

Actual Access Knowledge Internalism:
Whenever one knows some proposition p, then one is also aware of one’s knowledge basis for p.

Accessibility Knowledge Internalism:
Whenever one knows some proposition p, then one can become aware by reflection of one’s knowledge basis for p.

Internalism is knowledge brought about without any calculation or reasoning.

However, to what extent is such knowledge justified? In the case of the example with the tram, knowledge justification rests entirely on the testimony of the friend on the tram.

Internalism…treats justifiedness as a purely internal matter: if p is justified for S, then S must be aware (or at least be immediately capable of being aware) of what makes it justified and why. (Kent Bach, 1985. p. 250. Quoted in Alston, 1989. p. 212)

We presuppose, second, that the things we know are justified for us in the following sense: we can know what it is, on any occasion, that constitutes our grounds, or reason, or evidence for thinking that we know. (Roderick Chisholm, 1977. p. 17. Quoted in Alston, 1989. p. 212.)

The most explicit statement of this view comes from Carl Ginet:

Every one of every set of facts about S’s position that minimally suffices to make S, at a given time, justified in being confident that p must be directly recognizable to S at that time. (Carl Ginet, 1975. p. 34. Quoted in Alston, 1989. p. 213)

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