Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


During the last twenty years or so a number of philosophers have proposed theories that attempt to naturalize epistemology. One especially thinks of Quine, Goldman and Dretske in this context. Working in this tradition, I provide an externalist, reliable process analysis of epistemic justification and knowledge. In particular, I attempt to develop and improve upon the Goldman-Kornblith-Schmitt reliable process account of epistemic justification and show how it can be extended to provide an account of knowledge.;First I defend the idea that we cannot choose our beliefs, i.e., I argue that doxastic voluntarism is false, and that, since this is so, externalist approaches to epistemic justification are more plausible than internalist accounts. For, given that we cannot choose our beliefs, the internalist requirement that we be able to give reasons for our beliefs as a condition of our being epistemically justified is simply an impossible standard of rationality to impose on any cognizer.;Later I consider a problem due to Stuart Cohen. Cohen has argued that there is an ineliminably normative aspect to justification that reliabilists fail to mark. In order to dissolve Cohen's case against reliabilism, I draw a distinction between objective and subjective justification. The former is needed for knowledge, the latter for justifiable public assertions among our peers. While developing this bifurcated account of epistemic justification I provide an account of the term "process" (a pressing problem for reliabilists), contrast my reliable process account with the reliable indicator accounts of Dretske and Nozick, and argue that the objects of belief are propositional allomorphs and not, as it has been traditionally thought, propositions.



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