Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature, conditions, and extent of human knowledge. It asks questions like: “What. CAN EMPIRICAL KNOWLEDGE HAVE A FOUNDATION. advertisement A FOUNDATION? Laurence Bonjour Again, what is the doctrine of the given???. Reading Bonjour, and this essay is a little wordy. Anyone care to summarize?.

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This article has no associated abstract. Indeed, many recent proponents of foundationalism have felt that even moderate foundationalism goes further than is necessary with regard bonjor the degree of intrinsic or noninferential justification ascribed to basic beliefs.

Epistemicism and the Liar. The basic idea is that an initially low degree of justification can somehow be magnified or amplified by coherence, to a degree adequate for knowledge. We cannot simply stipulate that our direct-knowledge-yielding acts of non-cognitive apprehension are semi-beliefs, providing justification but not requiring justification without being ad hoc. The Coherence Theory of Empirical Knowledge. This last suggestion is, however, very epirical. This is the basic claim of the CTEK for all varieties of observation.

To answer this, he asks what the difference is between epistemic justification and other kinds of justification.

Alston – – Synthese 55 April: This entry was posted in Philosophy. But this makes it difficult to see how it could justify B.


havr Thus we em;irical conclude, at least provisionally, that for any acceptable moderate foundationalist account, at least one of the two premises of the appropriate justifying argument will itself be empirical.

Thus a tenable version of foundationalism must apparently reject either premise 3 or premise laurencs. This goes on ad infinitum. My belief that I believe that P is distinct from my belief that P; the content of the latter is simply the proposition that P, while the content of the former is the different and more complicated proposition that I believe that P.

Indubitability should have to do with whether a proposition can be doubted, incorrigibility with whether a belief in it can be corrected, and in both cases the epistemic significance is again not clear, assuming that the reason that a belief possesses such a status is not that it is infallible or perhaps nearly so. Notify me of new posts via email. Thus it is clear that the logical infallibility of such a belief, if known by the believer, provides the best possible epistemic justification for accepting lajrence.

Most historical discussions of foundationalism and even many quite recent ones, both pro and con, have focused almost exclusively on strong foundationalism.

For although this has often been overlooked, the very idea of an epistemically basic empirical belief is more than a little paradoxical. A proponent of logical infallibility must claim that this is, in the cases he is interested in, not logically possible, but it is hard to see what the basis for such a claim might be, so long as S1 andS2 are conceded to be separate states of affairs.


In particular, he thinks 1 is going to be empirically justified. Since the justification of these basic beliefs, as they have come to be called is thus allegedly not dependent on that of any other empirical belief, they are uniquely able to provide secure starting-points for the justification of empirical knowledge and stopping-points for the regress of justification.


From his perspective, it is an accident that the belief is true. The most obvious interpretation of the foundationalist response to the regress problem yields a view which I will call moderate foundationalism.

You can find the details of our flair system here. Find it on Scholar. Ali Hasan – – Philosophical Studies 2: The form this explanation takes: It will be helpful in the subsequent discussion to have available a slightly more explicit statement layrence this basic antifoundationalist argument:. Indeed, it is not necessary that anyone know or justifiably believe those premises.

Here are the objections.

There might of course be other reasons for requiring that basic beliefs have some laurfnce exalted epistemic status or for thinking that in fact they do. And in fact such a claim seems to be what was intended by most of the historical proponents of foundationalism in employing these terms, even though, for largely accidental reasons, they often couched their claims in these other ways. As a larence of this discussion, a third possible position will emerge, one which is at least debatably a version of foundationalism; that position, which might be said, though with important qualifications, to attempt a purely a priori justification of basic beliefs, will be considered in the final section of Chapter 4.

If this were not so, moderate foundationalism would be unacceptable as an account of epistemic justification. The problem is that 2 itself is an empirical belief and needs to be inferentially justified by further beliefs.

How would you describe the fundamental confusion that Bonjour thinks foundationalist accounts suffer from???

Since the justification resulting from known logical infallibility surely is adequate for knowledge, the view which advances this thesis is a subspecies of moderate foundationalism, what I will here call strong foundationalism.

II According to the CTEK, empirical beliefs are justified only in terms of relations to other beliefs and to the system of beliefs; at no point does any relation to the world come in. Thus if basic beliefs are to provide a secure foundation for empirical knowledge, if inference from them is to be the sole basis upon which other empirical beliefs are justified, then that feature, whatever it may be, by virtue of which a particular belief qualifies as basic must also constitute a good reason for thinking that the belief is true.


As will become clear, the key test for any version of foundationalism is whether it can solve the regress problem which motivates its very existence without resorting to essentially ad hoc stipulation. Consider a parallel case: Email required Address never made public. If this is correct, strong foundationalism is untenable as a solution to the regress problem and an analogous argument will show weak foundationalism to be similarly untenable.

Very roughly, if a suitably large, suitably coherent system can be built, containing a reasonably high proportion of one’s initially credible basic beliefs together with nonbasic beliefs, then it is claimed, the justification of all the beliefs in the system, basic and nonbasic, may be increased to the point of being adequate for knowledge, where achieving high enough degree of coherence may necessitate the rejection of some of one’s basic beliefs. Therefore, B is highly likely to be true.

Foundationalists argue that 1 – 3 are untenable, which leaves only 4so Foundationalism should be accepted as an answer to the regress problem. First, there are a number of persuasive arguments which seem to show that, whether or not foundationalism in general is acceptable, strong foundationalism is untenable. In short, the reason that visual perceptual beliefs are epistemically justified or warranted is that we have empirical background knowledge which tells us that beliefs of that specific sort are epistemically reliable.

Thus this independent warrant must somehow be augmented if knowledge is to be achieved, and the usual appeal here is to coherence with other such minimally warranted beliefs. Note again that we need not assume here that the classical given need not be known with certainty or indubitability.

The basic gambit of many recent foundationalist positions is to reject premise 3 of the foregoing argument by claiming in effect that although it is indeed necessary in order for a belief to be justified, and a fortiori for it to be basic, that a justifying argument be in a certain sense available in the situation, it is not necessary that the person for whom the belief is basic know, or justifiably believe, or even believe at all, the premises of such an argument.

Thus the interesting claim for my purposes is the claim that basic beliefs are logically infallible.