Date of Graduation

12-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Philosophy

Advisor

Thomas Senor

Committee Member

Eric Funkhouser

Second Committee Member

Edward Minar

Keywords

Defeat, Defeaters, Epistemic Defeasibility, Epistemic Defeaters, Epistemology, Taxonomy

Abstract

It has been widely argued that reasons for a belief come in degrees but not much literature has focused on the idea that defeaters for justification toward those beliefs also come in degrees. The aim of this paper is to explore epistemic defeasibility and construct a taxonomy for epistemic defeaters. This paper argues that epistemic defeaters undergo an evolutionary process before becoming what they are commonly labeled, such as rebutting and undercutting. I argue that within some stages of this process, there can be different degrees of defeat. This paper focuses on defeaters for justification, expands on the account of partial defeaters and offers a solution to reliabilism’s problem with defeat. The main aim of this taxonomy is to provide a framework that allows (most) epistemic theories to accept solely on the basis of epistemic defeasibility.

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