Evidentially embedded epistemic entitlement

David Henderson, Terence Horgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some hold that beliefs arising out of certain sources such as perceptual experience (or testimony, or memory) enjoy a kind of entitlement—as one is entitled to believe what is thereby presented as true, at least unless further evidence undermines that entitlement. This is commonly understood to require that default epistemic entitlement is a non-evidential kind of epistemic warrant. Our project here is to challenge this common, non-evidential, conception of epistemic entitlement. We will argue that although there are indeed basic beliefs with default entitlement status, typically the kind of default entitlement they possess is primarily a matter of the evidential support that accrues to them, both synchronically and diachronically, from wider mental states beyond the specific sensory-perceptual experiences (or memory experiences, or testimonial experiences, etc.) that spawn them. We will call this status evidentially embedded epistemic entitlement—as distinct from entitlement as commonly understood in the literature, which we will call evidentially insular. Epistemic entitlement normally is characterized in the manner set forth in the first paragraph above, viz., as a form of default epistemic warrant that a given belief possesses independently of any other beliefs. We suggest that not all evidential support is managed at the level of belief. Thus, leaves room for the possibility of an epistemically embedded kind of entitlement. Here we develop the needed conception of entitlement drawing on Henderson and Horgan’s ideas of a kind of “iceberg epistemology.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4907-4926
Number of pages20
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Epistemology entitlement
  • Iceberg epistemology
  • Justification
  • Perception
  • Warrant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)


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