A standard NEDP case will take a twin who is internally identical to me but whose beliefs are unreliably formed because of a demon. I share the intuition with internalists that this twin and I are justificationally identical. So, it seems that reliable belief formation is not directly relevant to justification. We can make variants of this case by picking any external property (e.g. sensitivity, safety) and imagining that our internally identical twin lacks that property because of a demon. Intuitively, such believers will be justificationally identical.
I’ve argued recently (in Episteme, see here) that the new evil demon problem (NEDP) also applies to most internalist views, those which say that nonoccurrent (dispositional, background, unconscious) mental states are directly relevant to the justification of our beliefs. Here is the case I formulate:
“Consider Augustine, who lived for seventy-six years. During this time, he held a great many beliefs; some were justified and some were not. Let us only consider the beliefs when they were occurrent. Now imagine Augustine*, a creature who also lives for seventy-six years and who experiences all of the same accessed internal states that Augustine had throughout his lifetime. The only difference is that the demon is manipulating Augustine* in such a way that he never has any unaccessed internal states. Augustine* might think that he has dispositional beliefs at various times in his life, but in fact, he has none. Whenever he thinks that he is recalling one of his memory beliefs, the demon is actually creating a newly formed occurrent belief.”
Augustine and Augustine*’s occurrent mental states (phenomenology, stream of consciousness, whatever) are identical throughout their lives. It seems that the occurrent beliefs of Augustine and Augustine* have the same justificational status. Or consider that you yourself have no way of telling whether you are in Augustine*’s situation. Imagine your twin, You*, who is in such a situation, who has all of the same occurrent mental states as you. It seems that You*’s occurrent beliefs are justificationally identical to yours.
Insofar as I share the internalist’s intuition in standard NEDP cases against externalism, I have them here against internalists who think that nonoccurrent mental states are relevant to justification. Hence, I think that most internalists face the same sort of NEDP that externalists have been facing the last couple of decades.