Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

Justification, its Structure and Grounds

Duration: 2019 - 2022

Code: PGC2018-099889-B-I00

Principal Investigator

Sven Rosenkranz (

All researchers

Sven Rosenkranz (ICREA-UB)
Andrés Arroyo Barrios (U. Barcelona)
Niccolò Rossi (U. Barcelona)

Niccolò Rossi (FPI Fellow, University of Barcelona)

Andrés Arroyo Barrios (FPU Fellow, University of Barcelona)

Clayton Littlejohn (King's College, London)

Julien Dutant (King's College, London)



The project's point of departure is the non-standard thesis that justification, both in its propositional and doxastic varieties, can coherently and fruitfully be conceived as a type of ignorance: a given proposition p is justified in one's situation just in case one is in no position to know that one is in no position to know p; and for an extant belief in p to be justified is for that belief to be held under conditions under which one is in no position to know that one does not in fact know p. This two-fold thesis is line with the so-called knowledge-first approach in epistemology; and the project can accordingly be understood as contributing to this theoretical paradigm. Before this thesis can properly be tested, and be compared to competing views, the notions of knowledge and of being in a position to know, and their relation, need to be clarified; and before we can assess its true potential, the logic governing these notions must carefully be set out. The first of the project's three work-packages is devoted to these tasks. The second work-package is then concerned to assess whether, flanked by such a logic, the thesis admits of a systematic defence, whether it fulfils all relevant theoretical desiderata, whether it can fruitfully be applied to problem cases, such as the lottery and preface paradoxes, and how it fares in comparison to recently proposed competitors. The thesis pronounces on what it is for a proposition to be justified, and what it is for a belief to be held under conditions under which that belief is justified. As such, it is silent on what determines these states of affairs to obtain. The traditional debate between internalists and externalists about justification turns on this very issue, with internalism being a general claim to which externalists take exception. Accordingly, the question must be asked what grounds justification as thus characterised. The project's third work-package is concerned to provide systematic answers to this question, and to see whether those answers favour internalism over externalism, and if not, whether internalism can independently be motivated. The project promises to break new ground in the systematic study of epistemic notions, their logic and metaphysics, and the theory of epistemic norms.

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