Title

Locke on Empirical Knowledge

Keywords

Locke, empirical knowledge, justification, fallibilism, infallibilism

Abstract

This paper explores two related issues concerning LockeÕs account of epistemic justification for empirical knowledge. One issue concerns the degree of justification needed for empirical knowledge. Commentators almost universally take Locke to hold a fallibilist account of justification, whereas I argue that Locke accepts infallibilism. A second issue concerns the nature of justification. Many (though not all) commentators take Locke to have a thoroughly internalist conception of justification for empirical knowledge, whereas I argue that he has a (partly) externalist conception of justification: it is the fact that sensation is caused by an external object that justifies our belief in the corresponding object. So, while most commentators take Locke to be a fallibilist with an internalist conception of justification for empirical knowledge, I argue he is actually an infallibilist with an externalist conception of justification.

Original Publication Citation

“Locke on Empirical Knowledge,” History of Philosophy Quarterly, v. 35, n. 4 (2018)

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2018

Publisher

History of Philosophy Quarterly

Language

English

College

Humanities

Department

Philosophy

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

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