“Externalism for Doxastic Agents?”
There is a tension between externalism and a central obligation of doxastic agency—the obligation to be involved in deliberately shaping one’s beliefs in light of one’s best judgments about what the reasons support. I consider the familiar case of Norman, the reliable clairvoyant, and argue that Norman’s case reveals a deliberative problem for externalism that arises from within a person’s first-person point of view. Externalism leaves open the possibility that sometimes the only way to aim at knowledge is to reject the aim of having reasonable belief, and a common distinction between various epistemological aims or concerns does not dissipate this tension. I then show that despite the fact that the tension arises from within a person’s deliberations, it cannot be settled by deliberation. Rather, it is a higher-order worry about whether pursuing knowledge can direct a person qua doxastic agent to eschew her own doxastic agency. As a result, externalists need to recognize that the onus is on them to defend the significance of doxastic agency within an externalist theory of knowledge.
“The Perspective of Rational Deliberation”
Many philosophers take there to be something epistemologically significant about having a view of the reasonableness of one’s own beliefs. But under what conditions does a person count as having such a perspective? I argue here that there is a special circumstance in which a person who engages in an entirely first-order rational deliberation (involving no self-regarding thoughts) and draws a first-order conclusion has a second-order perspective on the reasonableness of her own beliefs. In doing so, I defend two claims: first, when a person believes that p as the result of her first-order rational deliberation, she undertakes a second-order commitment to taking herself to have good reasons for believing that p. Second, when a person believes that p as the result of her first-order rational deliberation, she will also have a second-order view that she has good reasons for believing what she does.