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Foundational Evidentialism and the Problem of Scatter

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Abstract:

This paper addresses the scatter problem for foundational evidentialism. Reflection on thescatter problem uncovers significant epistemological lessons. The scatter problem is evaluatedin connection with Ernest Sosa's use of the problem as an argument against foundationalevidentialism. Sosa's strategy is to consider a strong intuition in favor of internalism - the newevil demon problem, and then illustrate how a foundational evidentialist account of the new evildemon problem succumbs to the scatter problem. The goal in this paper is to evaluate the forceof the scatter problem. The main argument of the paper is that the scatter problem has mixedsuccess. On the one hand, scatter undermines objectual evidentialism, an evidentialist theorythat formulates principles of basic perceptual justification in terms of the objects (or properties)of perceptual states. On the other hand, the problem of scatter does not undermine contentevidentialism, an evidentialist view that formulates its epistemic principles in terms of theassertive content of perceptual states. The significance of the scatter problem, especially inconcert with the new evil demon problem, is that it provides an argument for contentevidentialism.

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