An Introduction to Epistemology – Second Edition
  • Publication Date: July 30, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551119076 / 1551119072
  • 320 pages; 9" x 6"

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An Introduction to Epistemology – Second Edition

  • Publication Date: July 30, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551119076 / 1551119072
  • 320 pages; 9" x 6"

The second edition of Jack Crumley’s An Introduction to Epistemology strikes a balance between the many issues that engage contemporary epistemologists and the contributions of the major historical figures. He shows not only how philosophers such as Descartes, Hume, Locke, Berkeley, and Kant foreground the contemporary debates, but also why they deserve consideration on their own terms.

A substantial revision of the first edition, the second edition is even more accessible to students. The new edition includes recent work on contextualism, evidentialism, externalism and internalism, and perceptual realism; as well, the chapter on coherence theory is substantially revised, reflecting recent developments in that area. New to this second edition is a chapter on feminist epistemology, which includes discussions of major positions and themes, such as feminist empiricism, feminist standpoint epistemology, postmodern epistemology, and feminist critiques of objectivity. It presents the important contributions of philosophers such as Sandra Harding, Helen Longino, Genevieve Lloyd, and others. Each chapter ends with a list of study questions and readings for further study.


“The second edition of Crumley’s An Introduction to Epistemology offers readers a clearly written, highly accessible, comprehensive, and insightful up-to-date introduction to the main issues, concepts, and players in contemporary Anglo-American epistemology.” — James Maffie, Colorado State University

“ … an outstanding resource for students and instructors at both introductory and advanced levels.” — Patrick Rysiew, University of Victoria

Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition


The Aims of Epistemology
Some Important Concepts
Tradition and Revision
Key Concepts

CHAPTER ONE Skepticism

First Skirmishes with Skepticism
Cartesian Skepticism

  • Box: Academic and Pyhrronian Skepticism
    The Dream Argument
    The Demon Argument
    The Skeptic’s Requirements

Hume, Skepticism, and Entitlement

  • Hume’s Assumptions
    The Rationality of Our Inductive Inferences
    Box: Types of Induction
    Hume and Common Sense
    Box: Reasons and Causes

Skepticism and the Defense of our Cognitive Practices

  • Is Skepticism Inevitable?
    Two Types of Defense

Responding to the Skeptic

  • Is Certainty Necessary for Knowledge?
    Box: Descartes and the Probable
    Show-and-Tell: Ruling Out That One Is Dreaming
    Contextualism: Shifting Standards
    Skepticism and Inference to the Best Explanation
    Induction Again

Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study

CHAPTER TWO An Introduction to the Analysis of Knowledge

The Traditional Analysis

  • Truth Conditions
    Motivating the Traditional Analysis
    Box: Theories of Truth

Gettier and the Traditional Analysis

  • Gettier-type Counterexamples
    Box: Bertrand Russell and Gettier-type Counterexamples
    A Defense of the Traditional Analysis

Some Strategies for Handling Gettier Problems

  • A General Diagnosis
    Causal Theories
    Indefeasibility Theories
    Box: Strong and Weak Conditions
    No-False-Premise Views

The Significance of Gettier
Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study


Reliability and Knowledge

  • Two Versions of Reliabilism
    Reliabilism and Perceptual Knowledge
    Box: More on Reliable Indicator Theory
    Reliabilism and the Traditional Analysis

Reliabilism and Justification
Objections to Reliabilism

  • The Generality Problem
    Identifying Process Types
    Is Reliability Sufficient?
    Evil Demons—Again

Reliabilist Responses and Revisions

  • Normal Worlds and Weak Justification
    Box: Reliabilism and Skepticism

Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study

CHAPTER FOUR Structure and Sources of Justification: Foundationalism

The Regress Argument
Motives For Foundationalism

  • Options for the Regress Argument
    A Motive for Foundationalism

Two Types of Foundationalism

  • The Basic Structure
    Box: Foundationalism as a Theory of Knowledge
    Strong Foundationalism
    Neoclassical Foundationalism
    Modest Foundationalism
    Box: Can Reliabilists Be Foundationalists?
    Features of Modest Foundationalism

Objections To Foundationalism

  • Strong Foundationalism and Basic Beliefs
    Levels of Justification
    Independent Information and Modest Foundationalism
    The Cognitive Status of Experience

Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study

CHAPTER FIVE Structure and Sources of Justification: Coherence Theory

The Intuitive Idea

  • Mutual Support
    Two Views of Coherence
    Box: Linear Coherence

Coherence, Perception, and Belief

  • The Nature of Coherence
    Perceptual Beliefs and Coherence
    What Do You Believe?
    Box: Is the Doxastic Presumption True?

“Cycles and Loops” Lehrer’s View of Coherence

  • Justifying Trustworthiness

Objections to Coherence Theory: Liberal or Conservative?

  • Liberality

The Isolation Objection

  • Box: The Isolation Objection and Its Cousins

Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study

CHAPTER SIX Externalism and Internalism

Externalist and Internalist Features of Justification
Epistemic Responsibility

  • Responsibility: Goals and Means
    Are Beliefs Voluntary?
    Box: Doxastic Voluntarism

Cognitive Access

  • Strong and Weak Accessibility
    Objections and Responses

Attempted Reconciliation

  • Alston’s Internalist Externalism
    Sosa’s Virtue Perspectivism
    Box: Do Externalists Change the Subject?

Prospects for Reconciliation
Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study

CHAPTER SEVEN Naturalized Epistemology

Tradition and Naturalism

  • A Traditional Picture
    Naturalism and Epistemology
    Box: Facts and Values

Quine’s Vew of Naturalized Epistemology

  • First Philosophy
    Box: Quine and the Rejection of the A Priori
    The Normative Character of Naturalized Epistemology
    Box: Science Studies Science: The Strong Programme
    The Goal of Inquiry
    The Goal of Inquiry: Normative and Natural
    Box: Evolutionary Epistemology

Naturalized Epistemology and Supervenience
Tradition, Reduction, and Supervenience

  • Quinean and Modest Naturalized Epistemology
    Three Options

Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study

CHAPTER EIGHT Feminist Epistemology

Traditional Epistemology, Science, and Knowledge Products

  • Scientific Method and Values


  • Should We Want Objectivity?

A New Look for Epistemology

  • Feminist Empiricism
    Box: Coherentism and Feminist Epistemology
    Feminist Standpoint Epistemology
    Feminist Naturalized Epistemology

Does Feminist Epistemology Look Different?

  • Box: Ecological Naturalism

The “Feminist” in “Feminist Epistemology”

  • Feminist Epistemology in a Chapter

Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study

CHAPTER NINE A Priori Knowledge

The A Priori and Necessity

  • An Epistemological Distinction: A Priori and A Posteriori
    A Metaphysical Distinction: Necessary and Contingent Propositions

Historical Theories of the A Priori

  • The Traditional Theory of A Priori Knowledge
    Box: The Principle of Contradiction
    Kant and the Synthetic A Priori
    Box: Hume and Kant on Analytic and Synthetic Judgments (Propositions)

Contemporary Views of the A Priori

  • Linguistic Accounts of the A Priori
    The Traditional, the Linguistic, and the Truth
    Quinean Reservations
    Necessity and the A Priori
    No Experience Required: Synthetic A Priori Propositions

Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study

CHAPTER TEN Perception

The Simple Story: Naïve Realism
Naïve—An Illusion?

  • Further Arguments Against Naïve Realism
    Box: Blindsight?

The World of Sense Data

  • An Intuitive Approach
    Some Common Features

Representative Realism

  • Primary and Secondary Qualities
    A Lockean Response or No Way Out?
    Science to the Rescue?
    Some Reactions to Representative Realism


  • Berkeley’s Factual Phenomenalism
    Linguistic Phenomenalism
    Is Linguistic Phenomenalism Plausible?
    Box: Linguistic Phenomenalism and the Skeptic
    Berkeley Again

Reviving Direct Realism

  • Adverbial Theory
    The Doxastic View

Perceptual Experience and Realism
Key Concepts
Review Questions
For Further Study


Jack S. Crumley II is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the philosophy department at the University of San Diego.