One of the comments made by an audience member when I gave my paper at the Joint Session was that Crispin Wright's defence of epistemic entitlement sounded reminiscent of Neurath's idea that, in epistemic enquiry, our position is like that of a ship at sea - we can replace various planks as we go along but cannot throw out the whole system and start again.
Wright states that in empirical enquiry we cannot but rely on 'cornerstones' unsupported by further evidence, such as the proposition that we are not brains in vats. Since he also thinks that a 'proper concept' of warrant will not make impossible demands upon us, he takes it that a proper concept of warrant will not require that we have evidence for these cornerstones in order to count as warranted in accepting them and relying on them in our enquiries.
It sounds as if Wright thinks since we cannot but trust in the truth of the cornerstones, it cannot undermine our rationality if we do so. This sounds akin to the coherentist thought that, since we are ships at sea and cannot build our belief systems from scratch as foundationalism seems to require, it must be that starting from scratch is not required in order for our beliefs to be justified.
Another audience member (I think it may have been Daniel Whiting?) pointed out that Wright seems to think the ship we are afloat on has particular planks that can't be removed without letting the water in, which isn't a standard part of the ship-at-sea metaphor. In this respect, I think, Wright's view seems to be closer to that of Lewis, who holds that certain ('Moorean') aspects of common sense are the planks of the epistemic boat which cannot (all) be replaced on pain of irrationality (as was recently brought to my attention by reading Daniel Nolan's helpful book on Lewis). A particular commonsense plank might be ditched, in order to best respect the rest of our commonsense views, but there is no rational way to ditch all the members of this subset of our beliefs simultaneously. I wonder, then whether Lewis thinks, as Wright does, that the very impossibility of rationally ditching this set of beliefs is what makes it rational to hold onto them. Or is it the other way around: that the fact we are rational to hold onto them makes it irrational to ditch them? The former (Wright-like) interpretation is suggested by the following passage:
'[I]t's not that common sense speaks with the voice of some infallible faculty of "intuition". It's just that theoretical conservativism is the only sensible policy for theorists of limited powers, who are duly modest about what they can accomplish after a fresh start'.
This same modesty is what motivates Wright's views. If Lewis's line is as similar to Wright's as I've suggested, certain worries I have about Wright's proposal would apply here too - in particular, the apparent step from 'nothing else is a sensible policy' to 'this one remaining policy is sensible'.