Acquaintance and assurance

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1 Philos Stud DOI /s Acquaintance and assurance Nathan Ballantyne Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V Abstract I criticize Richard Fumerton s fallibilist acquaintance theory of noninferential justification. Keywords Acquaintance Noninferential justification Assurance Skepticism Regress Richard Fumerton Should the acquaintance theorist be committed to fallibilism or infallibilism? Richard Fumerton (2010) and Ted Poston (2010) have recently discussed that question. Poston has argued that there is trouble for the acquaintance theorist either way the theory faces a dilemma and Fumerton has responded to Poston by defending a fallibilist acquaintance theory of noninferential justification. Here, I shall offer a new objection to the theory Fumerton defends. Fumerton claims that [w]hen everything that is constitutive of a thought s being true is immediately before consciousness, there is nothing more that one could want or need to justify a belief (2001, p. 14). What more, asks Fumerton, could one want as an assurance of truth than the truth-maker before one s mind? (2006a, p. 189). Yet Fumerton also grants that false beliefs can enjoy noninferential justification. This admission, I ll contend, brings trouble for the acquaintance theorist whenever she asks whether she has assurance for a belief. In what follows, I shall outline Fumerton s notion of philosophical assurance (Sect. 1) before turning to state his account of noninferential justification (Sect. 2), describing how assurance is a critical motivation for the acquaintance theory. Then I will argue that if the acquaintance theorist endorses fallibilism, as Fumerton does, N. Ballantyne (&) Philosophy Department, Fordham University, Collins Hall 101, 441 E. Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458, USA

2 N. Ballantyne acquaintance provides no assurance (Sect. 3). I ll conclude by considering an objection to my argument (Sect. 4). 1 Assurance Central to Fumerton s notion of philosophical assurance is a particular conception of the philosophical enterprise. Fumerton observes that in commonplace inquiry, we assume that we know about the past by memory, the future by inductive inference, and the external world by perception. But once we turn to philosophy, Fumerton continues, we stop getting gifts. We must justify what we normally do not bother to justify (2001, p. 19). What is involved in having philosophical assurance that a particular belief is true? According to Fumerton, satisfying philosophical curiosity yields assurance. To see what is involved in satisfying curiosity, consider Fumerton s example of a child pestering a parent with why questions (e.g., Why is the sky blue? or Why can t you tickle yourself? ): The looming regress of Why? questions inevitably ends with an impatient parent responding That s just the way it is, a response that, no doubt, did little to satisfy the child s curiosity. The epistemologist wants to know why we can legitimately conclude that a certain way of forming a belief is legitimate, and the epistemologist s philosophical curiosity isn t going to be satisfied by being told at any stage of the game that it just is. (2006a, p. 184) Fumerton connects satisfying one s curiosity about the truth of a belief and obtaining assurance. Someone has assurance if her curiosity is satisfied. Fumerton s thought is that if someone is acquainted with the truth-maker for a belief, then her curiosity is fully satisfied and she thereby has assurance. What is relevant to getting the assurance one wants as a philosopher, Fumerton says, is getting the truth-maker for the belief before one s consciousness (2006a, p. 189). Consider a representative passage from Fumerton (where the proposition in question is his pet example, I am in pain): The fact that I am acquainted with is the very fact that makes P true. The very source of justification includes that which makes true the belief. In a way it is this idea that makes an acquaintance foundation theory so attractive. I have no need to turn to other beliefs to justify my belief that I am in pain because the very fact that makes the belief true is unproblematically before consciousness Again, everything one could possibly want or need by way of justification is there in consciousness. (2001, p. 15, cf. 2006a, p. 189, 2004, pp ) Let us say that someone is philosophically satisfied, in Fumerton s sense, with respect to believing P only if she has an answer to the question, Why think that P is true?; someone is philosophically unsatisfied so long as she has no answer to that question. Even if this question about the truth of P is answered, the answer itself may raise a new question Why think this answer is true? And the new question

3 Acquaintance and assurance brings with it further curiosity. If the chain of why questions ends with the confession, That s just the way it is, kid, curiosity remains. Fumerton makes it clear that he seeks assurance that precludes curiosity: the epistemologist s philosophical curiosity, he says, isn t going to be satisfied by being told at any stage of the game that it just is. If someone is fully satisfied, then she has philosophical assurance for believing that P. The notions of philosophical satisfaction and assurance raise some questions. Is the satisfaction of curiosity an objective or a subjective, thinker-relative matter? Different philosophers seem to have different thresholds for satisfaction, and what satisfies one might not satisfy another. What satisfied Thomas Reid 1 or G.E. Moore, for instance, won t satisfy the likes of Descartes or a Pyrrhonian skeptic. Is someone seeking to be completely satisfied more likely to reach truth or avoid error than someone who isn t? Why would anyone want assurance? I will leave these questions aside, turning now to Fumerton s account of noninferential justification and its connection to assurance. 2 Fallibilist noninferential justification by acquaintance Fumerton s account of noninferential justification has two main parts. First, he proposes a condition for noninferentially justified belief that entails truth. According to this condition, someone is noninferentially justified in believing that P if (but not only if 2 ) she is acquainted with the following: the belief that P, the fact that P, and the relation of correspondence between the belief that P and the fact that P. Fumerton says that acquaintance is a sui generis relation that holds between a thinker and a fact or property; and correspondence is also a sui generis relation. Neither notion can be analyzed using other (simpler) concepts. 3 It is important to appreciate how this first part is linked with assurance. Imagine that Buxtehude is in pain and that he believes as much. And suppose he is acquainted with the belief that he is in pain, the pain itself, and the relation holding between the belief and the pain. Buxtehude is then directly aware of the truth- 1 A common foil in Reid s writings, the Skeptic, sounds downright Fumertonian at moments: There is nothing so shameful in a philosopher as to be deceived and deluded; and therefore you ought to resolve firmly to withhold assent, and to throw off all this belief of external objects, which may be all delusion (An Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense VI, xx). For more on Reid s Skeptic, see Wolterstorff (2001, chapter VIII, esp ). 2 Some commentators have taken Fumerton to offer a necessary condition for justification not merely a sufficient condition, as I ve stated it. These commentators read the if as only if (see Plantinga (2001, p. 60)) or if and only if (see Poston (2006, p. 332)). Given that Fumerton notes that false beliefs can enjoy noninferential justification in many of the places he expounds his theory, however, a maximally charitable reading of his account s first part will include only a sufficient condition otherwise the admission of noninferentially justified false belief is a straightforward counterexample to his view. We can do better than to state Fumerton s theory so that it faces a counterexample that s due to his own handiwork. In correspondence on 15 February 2008, Fumerton wrote to me that he has been torn on the issue of whether to include a necessary condition as well as a sufficient one; cf. Fumerton (2010, pp ) and Poston (2010, pp ). The arguments below do not hinge on the way I have stated the acquaintance theory. 3 Fumerton (1995, pp ).

4 N. Ballantyne maker for the belief; the pain is there before his mind. He has a completely satisfying way of assuring himself that he is in pain (Fumerton 2006a, p. 189). Therein lies a key motivation for Fumerton s acquaintance theory. The very source of justification, Fumerton says, includes that which makes true the belief. In a way it is this idea that makes an acquaintance foundation theory so attractive (2001, p. 15). What apparently motivates the acquaintance theory is this: acquaintance allegedly explains how we can get assurance. And there is more. Fumerton thinks that externalist theories and presumably all kinds of non-acquaintance views lack precisely this virtue of his theory: such theories can t provide assurance. The proponent of simple reliabilism, for example, says roughly that the reliability of a belief-producing process is sufficient to generate justified output beliefs. Given reliabilism, someone is noninferentially justified in believing he is in pain if the belief is caused by a reliable process. According to Fumerton, the philosopher must ask the obvious next question: Is my belief caused in the right way? The question is irresistible, says Fumerton, because having a belief caused in a certain way when we don t know whether or not it is caused in that way is clearly not something that would give us assurance of truth (2006a, pp , cf. 2004, p. 76, 2006b, pp ). According to Fumerton, though externalists may say, If my belief is caused in the right way, then it is justified, they can t properly affirm the antecedent. Fumerton claims that externalist theories leave residual curiosity and so fail to be sufficient for justification. 4 Here is the second part of Fumerton s theory of noninferential justification: false beliefs may be noninferentially justified. How exactly are false beliefs justified? To begin with, consider the sort of case of justified false belief that Fumerton envisions. 5 Suppose that the sense-datum theory is true and that McCoy is aware of a sense datum. The sense datum is an ever so slightly bent line segment. McCoy believes that she is aware of a straight line segment, though she is actually acquainted with the bent segment. Suppose that McCoy is also acquainted with her belief that there is a straight segment and a relation very similar to perfect correspondence between her belief and the fact that there is a bent segment. Fumerton comments: In such a situation it will be false that what justifies the person in believing P is his direct acquaintance with the fact that P. By hypothesis, there is no such fact. We shall have to say that what justifies him in believing P is his direct acquaintance with some other fact [P*], a fact that could be justifiably confused with the fact that P. (1985, p. 60) 4 Something in the neighbourhood of Fumerton s claim has also been made by Laurence BonJour: I want to [insist] that there is nevertheless a clear way in which an internalist approach continues to have one fundamental kind of priority for epistemology as a whole. No matter how much work may be done in delineating externalist conceptions of knowledge or justification or reliability there is an important way in which all such results are merely hypothetical or insecure as long as they cannot be arrived at from the resources available within a first-person epistemic perspective (2002, p. 260). 5 Fumerton (1985, pp , cf. 1995, pp. 77, 186, 2001, pp. 15, 75).

5 Acquaintance and assurance What is it to justifiably confuse two facts? Fumerton is silent here. Of course, on pain of circularity, he is not trying to give an account of what justifies false belief in terms of justified belief. Perhaps he means that someone is blameless to confuse P* with the fact that P. This reading raises worries: acquaintance begins to drop out of the picture as that which is epistemically relevant for a belief to enjoy justification; and, as it is often pointed out, making a non-culpable mistake doesn t seem to be anywhere near sufficient for epistemic justification. 6 More recently, Fumerton has proposed that noninferential justification for a false belief that P consists in being acquainted with a fact P* that is very similar to and easily confused with the fact that P (2001 p. 75). I shall proceed with Fumerton s recent characterization. According to it, someone is noninferentially justified in believing that P if she is acquainted with the following: the belief that P, a fact, P*, that is very similar to the fact that P, and a relation very similar to correspondence between the belief that P and the fact that P* (where facts or relations that are very similar are easily confused with one another). There will be questions, of course. What is it to easily confuse two facts or relations, and why should that matter for justification? What makes facts similar? 7 Given that very similar facts are easily confused, is the former notion going to be thinker-relative? 8 Does this matter? And how should we understand the relation between the belief that P and the fact that P*? It can t be a relation of correspondence like the one that holds between the belief that P and the fact that P. Is it a relation similar to correspondence? With Fumerton s account of fallibilist noninferential justification now in view, let s leave these questions to the side and ask whether acquaintance provides assurance. 3 Does acquaintance provide assurance? I will now argue that if the acquaintance theorist is a fallibilist, just like Fumerton, acquaintance supplies no assurance. Before getting to the argument, here s a glimpse of the basic problem. The part of Fumerton s theory that shows how true beliefs may be noninferentially justified seems to square neatly with the claim that acquaintance provides assurance. When someone is directly aware of the truth-maker for her belief, she apparently enjoys assurance. But what about the second part of Fumerton s theory? What about the part that shows how false beliefs may enjoy justification? Obviously, if someone s belief is false, she is not directly aware of its truth-maker. Now, suppose an acquaintance theorist thinks that her belief is noninferentially justified. She knows that, given her theory, merely being justified is consistent with 6 See Alston (1989, essay 4) and Pryor (2001, Sect. 4.3). 7 It is worth noting that Fumerton won t simply appeal to a universal like similarity he favours nominalism (2001, p. 20, footnote 13) though he may claim, along with some nominalists, that there are brute facts of similarity. 8 For example, it might be quite easy for mere humans to confuse two facts, whereas it might be difficult or impossible for highly intelligent aliens from Zeta Reticuli to confuse them.

6 N. Ballantyne her belief being either true or false. But she wants assurance. She wants to determine whether her belief is true. Is that something that acquaintance alone can deliver? If not, acquaintance fails to provide assurance. For ease of expression, I shall call a case of noninferentially justified true belief a good case and a case of noninferentially justified false belief a bad case. Once the acquaintance theorist allows that there may be bad cases, the following why question becomes salient: Why think that I am now in a good case rather than a bad case with respect to my belief that P? This question concerns the truth of a belief. As noted earlier, even if a particular question is answered, the answer itself may raise further curiosity. And if the chain of questions ends with someone saying, That s just the way it is, assurance is elusive. 9 Imagine that Paul is an acquaintance theorist who admits the possibility of bad cases; he is a fallibilist. Paul happens to believe that P: I am in pain. Then he asks himself: Why think that my present case is good rather than bad? 10 If Paul is in a bad case, it isn t obvious that he can get assurance, given the acquaintance theory. Assurance for a false belief (if any there be 11 ) cannot come by way of being acquainted with a truth-maker for the belief. For a bad case, we would not want to say Paul is in a conscious state that is all that it could be by way of satisfying philosophical curiosity (Fumerton 2006a, p. 189). There is something misleading about the case and if Paul knew more, he would not take his conscious state to provide assurance. When it comes to gaining assurance, then, Paul fares better in a good case. Presumably he can get assurance in a good case, so it s to that case we can turn. What would satisfy Paul s curiosity in a good case? From his perspective, it is an open possibility that he is in a bad case. Paul can t merely believe that his case is a good one; and it won t do for the case to simply be a good one. To gain satisfaction, Paul must believe his case is good and have justification to so believe. What is the source of his justification here? Remember that Paul has asked himself this question: Why think my case is good rather than bad? To satisfy his curiosity, Paul must be noninferentially justified to believe his case is good. One possibility for satisfying his curiosity is acquaintance with the fact that he is in a good case. So suppose that Paul sets out to be acquainted with something that will answer his question; he will want to stand in the very same sort of tripartite relation of acquaintance to the fact his case is good as he stands to his belief that P, the fact that P, and the correspondence relation between those two. 9 Thanks to Michael Bergmann for pointing out that Bergmann (2006, p , esp. footnote 11) sketches a similar argument. 10 In more words: Why think I m acquainted with the fact that P and the relation of correspondence between that fact and my belief in P, as opposed to a distinct but very similar fact (that doesn t entail P) and a distinct but very similar correspondence relation? 11 Though I offered one necessary condition to characterize assurance, in line with what Fumerton says (see Sect. 1), I m not confident enough about the nature of assurance to say whether one can have it for a false belief. ( I ve got assurance for the truth of P, but P might be false may sound wrong in some ears.) Thanks to an anonymous referee for a helpful question on this matter.

7 Acquaintance and assurance A little more precisely, Paul must be acquainted with his belief that he is in a good case, the fact that he is in a good case, and the correspondence relation that holds between the two. Consider what Paul needs for assurance, given he seeks it through acquaintance. For one, he must be acquainted with this fact: GOOD CASE FACT: the fact that I am acquainted with (a) my belief that P, (b) the fact that P, and (c) the relation between (a) and (b). And then he must believe the following: GOOD CASE PROPOSITION: that I am acquainted with (a) my belief that P, (b) the fact that P, and (c) the relation between (a) and (b). He must also be acquainted with his belief that GOOD CASE PROPOSITION and the relation that holds between that belief and GOOD CASE FACT. Either Paul can have justification to believe his case is good or he can t. Let us suppose first that Paul cannot have justification: then it is false that everything one could possibly want or need by way of justification is there in consciousness (Fumerton 2001, p. 15). Acquaintance would thus fail to provide assurance. The acquaintance theorist will suppose that Paul can have justification at this higher level. Paul would then have a lot on his mind. But, as Fumerton has often observed, there is nothing problematic about that by itself: someone can move up a level and be acquainted with her acquaintances (2006a, p. 189). There is, however, a ceiling for upward movement: For me to be noninferentially justified in believing that I am noninferentially justified in believing that I am noninferentially justified in believing P, I must be acquainted with facts so complex as to boggle my poor consciousness. Indeed, I am not sure I can keep things straight past the fourth or fifth level. (Fumerton 1995, p. 80) Suppose then that Paul girds up his loins and acquaints himself with everything needed to be justified. How does moving up a level answer Paul s question? His original question was this: Why think this case is good rather than bad? Now he believes GOOD CASE PROPOSITION. On the basis of that belief he answers his question: I am in a good case. Is that enough to satisfy? It seems not, for a further question immediately arises: Why think that my belief that GOOD CASE PROPOSITION is true? That is: Why think I m in a good case with respect to my belief in GOOD CASE PROPOSITION? The same sort of curiosity that led Paul to ask his initial question emerges again at the higher level. What will satisfy his curiosity at this stage? It is not enough that the belief in question is true; Paul needs noninferential justification to believe that GOOD CASE PROPOSITION is true. For starters, he requires acquaintance with this complex fact: HIGHER-LEVEL FACT: the fact that I am acquainted with (a) my belief that P, (b) the fact that P, (c) the relation between (a) and (b), (d) my belief that GOOD CASE PROPOSITION, (e) GOOD CASE FACT, and (f) the relation between (d) and (e).

8 N. Ballantyne And he must believe the following: HIGHER-LEVEL PROPOSITION: that I am acquainted with (a) my belief that P, (b) the fact that P, (c) the relation between (a) and (b), (d) my belief that GOOD CASE PROPOSITION, (e) GOOD CASE FACT, and (f) the relation between (d) and (e). Finally, to get the justification in question, Paul must be acquainted with his belief in HIGHER-LEVEL PROPOSITION and the relation that holds between that belief and HIGHER-LEVEL FACT. Either Paul can enjoy justification to believe that GOOD CASE PROPOSITION is true or he can t. If he cannot get justification at this yet higher level, then acquaintance doesn t provide assurance. Suppose then that he can have justification here. The trouble is that he will be able to ask, Why think my belief that HIGHER-LEVEL PROPOSITION is true? Paul s further curiosity must be satisfied, we are supposing, by way of acquaintance with some complex fact. We ve been here before. Either Paul can have justification to believe what is required to satisfy curiosity at this higher level or he can t. Eventually, he will be unable to be acquainted with the increasingly complex facts. Eventually, he will have too many acquaintances. Moving up the level won t then be possible and he will be unable to satisfy his curiosity. Therefore, eventually, acquaintance will fail to provide assurance. Before moving on, let me summarize the structure of the above argument this time leaving out some of the details. Paul endorses a fallibilist acquaintance theory. There may be, he thinks, false beliefs that are noninferentially justified by acquaintance. He is trying to gain assurance with respect to a particular true belief ( B ). To do so, according to his theory, he must become acquainted with B, B s truth-maker ( T ), and the correspondence relation between B and T. Doing so is not sufficient for assurance of B, however, because given his commitment to fallibilism Paul can fairly ask whether B and T do indeed correspond. In order to answer that question, he must do the following: (i) form a belief that B and T correspond ( B* ) and (ii) become acquainted with B*, B* s truth-maker (i.e., the fact that B and T correspond), and the relation between B* and B* s truth-maker. Hence, to attain assurance with respect to a particular belief, given his fallibilist acquaintance theory, Paul must form a slightly more complex belief and become acquainted with a slightly more complex correspondence relation than he has met before. And, distressingly for him, Paul s theory allows him to sensibly ask whether that correspondence relation in fact obtains; he can always be curious about that. Therefore, gaining assurance with respect to a particular belief requires Paul to form each of an infinite series of increasingly complex beliefs while becoming acquainted with each of an infinite series of increasingly complex correspondence facts. As we have seen, the trouble is that Paul isn t up to the task. 4 Objection By way of conclusion, I will entertain an objection to the regress argument a way to stop the regress before it starts. The regress exploited the idea that Paul tried to

9 Acquaintance and assurance satisfy curiosity by acquaintance with the fact that he is in a good case. But what if Paul doesn t have to draw upon further acts of acquaintance to satisfy his curiosity? It turns out that Fumerton appears to deny that a bad case is so much as possible given certain conditions. Writes Fumerton: I really can t make sense of a skeptical scenario for my belief that I am in pain when I am acquainted with searing pain (2010, p. 385). (A skeptical scenario for someone s belief that she is in pain is just what I have called a bad case.) What is the suggestion here? Imagine, as an example, that Paul suffers second-degree burns after colliding with a barbeque grill during a backyard football game. If he believes he s in pain and his pain is searing, then according to Fumerton Paul s belief is true. 12 Under such conditions, Paul can sensibly deny the possibility that he is not in pain. Fumerton s proposal might, therefore, offer a way to avoid the regress outlined above. If it is impossible that Paul s case is bad, perhaps his curiosity that his case is good is satisfied without further effort. And if he needn t be acquainted with anything more to enjoy assurance, perhaps no regress threatens. Let s see what these thoughts amount to. We are supposing that Paul barbeque burns notwithstanding is in a good case: he has a noninferentially justified true belief that he is in pain. And then he has raised a question: Why think my case is good rather than bad? To get satisfaction, as we ve already seen, Paul must be noninferentially justified to believe his case is good. We can assume that Paul, like Fumerton, cannot make sense of being in a bad case when he believes he is in pain and is acquainted with searing pain. More precisely, Paul believes the following: SEARING PAIN: Necessarily, if I am acquainted with searing pain and I believe that I am in pain, then I believe truly that I am in pain. How does believing that SEARING PAIN give Paul noninferential justification to believe his case is good? It is unclear. But suppose Paul also believes the antecedent of the conditional: I am acquainted with searing pain and I believe that I am in pain. Then Paul is positioned to infer the consequent of SEARING PAIN: I believe truly that I am in pain. If Paul ends up believing SEARING PAIN s consequent, he has essentially come to think his case is good. 13 Perhaps, just like that, Paul gains assurance for his belief that his case is good. Even if this proposal works, Paul can only get assurance for a highly restricted class of beliefs: those about searing pains or, more generally, intense or extreme mental states. Of course, this makes for a curious sort of skepticism on which someone can only gain assurance for beliefs about intense mental states. 12 Not all intense pains are searing: some are sharp or stabbing, tearing or throbbing, piercing or pounding. Fumerton s point can be made by invoking any sort of intense pain. 13 So long as Paul also thinks he is acquainted with his belief that he s in pain, and the relation between his belief and its truth-maker, he has come to think his case is good.

10 N. Ballantyne I will argue, however, that the proposal won t work. To understand why it fails, suppose Paul comes to believe his case is good on the basis of an inference from SEARING PAIN and its antecedent (both of which he believes). Trouble strikes on two fronts. For starters, the source of justification for Paul s belief that his case is good is inference. Even supposing he can get assurance for his belief through inference, his belief won t be noninferentially justified. Yet the acquaintance theorist s sole source of assurance for beliefs like I am in pain, according to Fumerton, is acquaintance: The very source of justification includes that which makes true the belief. In a way it is this idea that makes an acquaintance foundation theory so attractive. I have no need to turn to other beliefs to justify my belief that I am in pain because the very fact that makes the belief true is unproblematically before consciousness Again, everything one could possibly want or need by way of justification is there in consciousness. (2001, p. 15, emphasis added) If Paul must look to his beliefs in SEARING PAIN and its antecedent to gain assurance that his case is good (and thereby assurance that he is in pain), then acquaintance is not the sole source of assurance. To justify his belief that he is in pain, Paul will want more than what acquaintance can provide. There is more trouble. Paul must believe SEARING PAIN and its antecedent in order to carry out the inference in question. But assurance doesn t come from nowhere you can t get it from premises that themselves lack assurance for you. Do Paul s beliefs that SEARING PAIN and its antecedent enjoy assurance? Take the antecedent, for instance: I am acquainted with searing pain and I believe that I am in pain. It is not something Paul always has assurance to believe. He may properly ask, of the antecedent s first conjunct, whether he is acquainted with searing pain rather than something close to searing pain. If an inference involving SEARING PAIN s antecedent can supply assurance to Paul s belief that his case is good, he then must somehow gain assurance for his belief in the antecedent itself. Since Paul is a fallibilist, he can always ask whether his case is good or bad with respect to his belief that he s acquainted with searing pain. The same goes for his belief in SEARING PAIN. At the very least, if Paul has assurance for these beliefs, we deserve a story. To sum up, even if we grant Fumerton s proposal that I really can t make sense of a skeptical scenario for my belief that I am in pain when I am acquainted with searing pain, it isn t obvious how that will stop the regress outlined earlier (see Sect. 3). Spelling out the proposal allows us to understand that any assurance here depends on inference and premises that already enjoy assurance. If there is assurance to believe the premises, so much the worse for the acquaintance theorist when inference does the work, it is not acquaintance that provides assurance. Acknowledgements For helpful comments, correspondence or conversation, I am grateful to Michael Bergmann, Kenny Boyce, Stew Cohen, Tom Crisp, Ian Evans, Richard Fumerton, Keith Lehrer, Alvin Plantinga, Josh Rasmussen, Benjamin Wilson, and two or three anonymous referees. I am especially grateful to E.J. Coffman and Alex Skiles for discussion. My work on this paper, which was first drafted during February and March 2008, was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

11 Acquaintance and assurance References Alston, W. (1989). Epistemic justification. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Bergmann, M. (2006). Justification without awareness. New York: Oxford University Press. BonJour, L. (2002). Internalism and externalism. In P. Moser (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of epistemology. New York: Oxford University Press. Fumerton, R. (1985). Metaphysical and epistemological problems of perception. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Fumerton, R. (1995). Metaepistemology and skepticism. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield. Fumerton, R. (2001). Classical foundationalism and Replies to Pollock and Plantinga. In M. DePaul (Ed.), Resurrecting old-fashioned foundationalism. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield. Fumerton, R. (2004). Achieving epistemic assent. In J. Greco (Ed.), Ernest Sosa and his critics. Malden: Blackwell. Fumerton, R. (2006a). Epistemic internalism, philosophical assurance and the skeptical predicament. In T. Crisp, M. Davidson, & D. Vander Laan (Eds.), Knowledge and reality: essays in honor of Alvin Plantinga. Dordrecht: Springer. Fumerton, R. (2006b). Epistemology. Malden: Blackwell. Fumerton, R. (2010). Poston on similarity and acquaintance. Philosophical Studies, 147, Plantinga, A. (2001). Direct acquaintance? In M. DePaul (Ed.), Resurrecting old-fashioned foundationalism. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield. Poston, T. (2006). Acquaintance and the problem of the speckled hen. Philosophical Studies, 132, Poston, T. (2010). Similarity and acquaintance: a dilemma. Philosophical Studies, 147, Pryor, J. (2001). Highlights of recent epistemology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 52, Wolterstorff, N. (2001). Thomas Reid and the story of epistemology. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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