Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Metajustification, Skepticism and the A Priori




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Rationalists argue that belief in empiricism itself cannot be justified without appealing to perception, which is question-begging, or to non-empirical sources of justification, contradicting empiricism. This is the problem of "metajustification". Casullo argues that rationalism is equally susceptible to this problem, leaving empiricism and rationalism stalemated. However, while the problem applies to both positions, the motivation for seeking metajustification does not. There is only motivation to seek metajustification for an account if that account admits of legitimate skeptical doubts. Here there is an asymmetry between rationalism and empiricism. Justifiably formulating skeptical arguments against rationalism presupposes the legitimacy of a priori justification; skeptical arguments against empiricism have no analogous presupposition. Since empiricism does, while rationalism does not, admit of justified skeptical doubts, there is motivation to seek metajustification for empiricism but not rationalism. Rationalism is immune to the metajustification problem in a way that empiricism is not. There is no stalemate.

Conference Name

The Central States Philosophical Association Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

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