The justification of memory beliefs: evidentialism, reliabilism, conservatism

Matthew McGrath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this paper, forthcoming in *Goldman and his Critics*, I revisit the debate between Goldman and his evidentialist opponents on the justification of memory beliefs. I distinguish two sorts of epistemic status at issue and not usually clearly separated in these debates: historical justification vs. justification to retain a belief. A full epistemology of memory beliefs ought to give a unified account of both, acknowledging their distinctness but explaining each within the same theoretical framework and articulating their relations. I raise doubts about the resources of reliabilism for doing this. I conclude by making a plea for a less ambitious account of justification to retain beliefs, a restricted form of epistemic conservatism. I argue that the conservative account I recommend represents a kind of neutral baseline, insofar as there are both reliabilist-friendly arguments as well as evidentialist-friendly arguments for it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGoldman and his Critics
EditorsBrian P. McLaughlin, Hilary Kornblith
Place of PublicationMalden, MA
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781118609378
ISBN (Print)9780470673676
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Memory
  • Epistemology
  • Justificaton
  • Reliabilism
  • Epistemic conservatism
  • Evidentialism


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