Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

After the Spade Turns: Disagreement, First Principles and Epistemic Contractarianism

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of International Journal for the Study of Skepticism

Reasons, Wittgenstein warned, come to an end; we hit bedrock; the spade is turned. Long philosophical tradition, not to mention common sense, agrees. You can’t justify everything. In this paper, I examine a case where it is not only especially compelling that reasons run out—it is especially troubling. The case is when there is disagreement over explicitly epistemic first principles. Epistemic first principles are principles that announce that basic methods for acquiring beliefs are reliable. Where we disagree over such principles, we face the alarming prospect of being unable to defend them without relying on the very methods whose reliability is in question. I then explore, however briefly, what options remain in such situations for still engaging in what we might call rational persuasion. I suggest our prospects depend on whether we can make sense of giving objective practical reasons for our epistemic first principles.

Affiliations: 1: University of Connecticut, United States,


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Alston W.P. (1986). “"Epistemic Circularity",” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol 47: 130.
2. Cohen L.J. (1989). “"Belief and Acceptance",” Mind Vol 98: 367389.
3. Lynch M. , (2010) “"Epistemic Disagreement and Epistemic Incommensurability".” In Haddock , A. ,, Miller A. ,, and Pritchard D. (eds.), Social Epistemology, 262–277. Oxford University Press.
4. ———. (2012a). “"Democracy as a Space of Reasons".” In Elkins J. , and Norris A. (eds.), Truth and Democracy , 114129. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
5. ———. (2012b). In Praise of Reason . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
6. ———. (2013). “"Epistemic Commitments, Epistemic Agency and Practical Reasons",” Philosophical Issues Vol 23: 343362.
7. Neta R. (2006). “"Epistemology Factualized: New Contractarian Foundations for Epistemology",” Synthese Vol 150: 247280.
8. Pritchard D. (2005). Epistemic Luck . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
9. Pritchard D. (2011).“"Wittgenstein on Scepticism.” In McGinn, M. and Kuusela, O. (eds.)", The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein , 521547. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
10. Reid T. (2000) Inquiry into the Human Mind: On the Principles of Common Sense . Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
11. Williams M. (1995). Unnatural Doubts: Epistemological Realism and the Basis of Skepticism . Princeton: Princeton University Press.
12. Wittgenstein L. , (1977). On Certainty . Edited by Anscombe G.E.M. , and von Wright G.H. ; translated by D. Paul and G.E.M. Anscombe. Oxford: Blackwell.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation