In "Knowledge and Belief, " Frederick Schmitt explores the nature and value of knowledge and justified belief through an examination of the dispute between epistemological internalism and externalism. Knowledge and justified belief are naturally viewed as belief of a sort likely to be true--an externalist view. It is also intuitive, however, to view them as an internal matter; justification must be accessible to the subject or constituted by the subject's epistemic perspective.
The author argues against the view that internalism is the historically dominant epistemology by examining closely the epistemological principles that underlie the treatment of skepticism in Plato, the Academic and Pyrrhonian skeptics, Descartes and Hume. Schmitt develops a sustained, detailed argument against many forms of internalism in favor of a reliabilist/externalist epistemology. His version of reliabilism, though strictly externalist, accommodates and explains the most durable intuitions alleged to support internalism.
"Knowledge and Belief" assumes no knowledge of epistemology or its history. Readers of philosophy will find this an excellent introduction to ancient and modern epistemology; this systematic study of the internalist and externalist debate is the first of its kind.