Abstract

Arguably, the original conception of epistemic justification comes from Descartes and Locke, who thought of justification deontologically. Moreover, their deontological conception was especially strict: there are no excuses for unjustified beliefs. Call this the “classical deontologist” conception of justification. As the original conception, we ought to accept it unless proven untenable. Nowadays, however, most have abandoned classical deontologism as precisely that—untenable. It stands accused of requiring doxastic voluntarism and normative transparency. My goal is to rescue classical deontologism from these accusations. I show how, given a specific form of internalism coupled with a plausible theory of epistemic blame, we can be blameworthy for all of our (non-exempt) unjustified beliefs without transparency or voluntarism. The result is that the classical deontological conception of justification should regain its privileged status.

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