When I consider the NEDP for reliabilism, the intuitions involved seem to support the view that external properties (e.g. reliable belief production) are not directly relevant to justification. Furthermore, I take the motivating principle that is behind the intuition in NEDP cases to be the following:
MP1: Only conscious, internal properties are directly relevant to justification.
(I mean ‘directly relevant’ in such a way that all MP1 is really expressing is that justificational properties supervene on conscious internal properties.)
I think this is a better lesson to draw than the more common
MP2: Only mental properties are directly relevant to justification.
This is because epistemologists like Jack Lyons have given good reasons to think that NEDP cases are good evidence that mental properties that are completely unaccessible to the believer are not directly relevant to justification. But what about the following?
MP3: Only internal properties that are conscious or that the believer can make conscious are directly relevant to justification.
This is a nice middle position between MP1 and MP2. However, there are NEDP cases that show that unconscious, accessible mental states are justificationally irrelevant.
Suppose Sally has justified belief B, and unconscious mental state M is (putatively) directly relevant to its justification. From t1 to t2, Sally’s belief is justified, and Sally could have made M conscious.
Let Sally* be exactly like Sally except that, between t1 and t2, a demon simply watches for any sign that Sally* might try to make M conscious. If she did, the demon would distract Sally* so that she could not make M conscious. Fortunately, in the actual scenario, Sally* never tries to access M; her conscious state remains like Sally’s. Intuitively, Sally*’s belief continues to be justified.
What to conclude? It seems that whether Sally could or couldn’t make conscious an unconscious mental state is irrelevant to her belief’s justification. How could the intentions of a demon, perhaps a million miles away, be relevant to a belief’s justification? And it is especially unlikely that any internalist would think the demon is relevant. So, my Frankfurt-style case counts against what I call “accessibilist internalism”, the view that internalism is true, and some unconscious, but accessible internal states are directly relevant to justification. This is a reason to accept MP1 as superior to MP3 as the motivating principle behind NEDP cases.
(I use this argument in the last section of an invited discussion piece that I am writing for Acta Analytica in reply to a paper by Kevin McCain. A link to his paper and my paper are available here. Comments are welcome. I hope to submit it in a week or so.)