I recently received a comment from one of my subscribers whose Christian friend gave a rebuttal to Evidentialism. In the rebuttal, I noticed a pattern that I’ve seen among many critics: attacking Evidentialism without presenting a viable epistemological alternative. So I have decided to post a general answer to this approach.
Typically, one does not need to present an alternative to a position in order to attack it. However, if your goal is to bring down an entire foundational system of belief (an epistemology), it is incumbent on you to propose an alternative.
Why? Because what if the critiques you are making apply to ALL epistemologies? What if your critique isn’t actually a problem with a specific epistemology but rather an unavoidable problem for epistemologies in general? Unless you present an alternative that actually solves your a proposed problem (or comes closer to solving it), you have failed to demonstrate that better epistemologies exist.
Anyhow, here is my rebuttal to the specific comment posted above:
In your rebuttal, you have submitted no viable alternative to Evidentialism. You’ve merely made a vague Appeal to Authority fallacy in reference to past work in epistemology.
Yet, even in doing this, you didn’t even *reference* a specific alternative basis for justification, let alone *defend* one. You’ve merely made some fallacious rebuttals to specific issues, not presented an entire system of justification, as I have.
How does your alternative system detect and correct for errors in perception, memory, and communication? How does it employ physical evidence? How does it justify the use of mathematics and logic?
Merely by having developed thorough answers to foundational questions like these, I have done substantially more to justify my position than you have.
I sit comfortably in a well-made and well-defended, if not perfect, epistemological home. You, on the other hand, are apparently homeless and are merely attempting to tear down my home. No matter what your end result, you both start and end homeless. Attempting to tear down my home is not the same thing as building one yourself.