Two Arguments Against Foundationalism

Two Arguments Against Foundationalism - Two Arguments...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Two Arguments Against Foundationalism, and in Support of Coherentism Larry Bonjour's defense of coherentism is as follows. First, he grants that the epistemic regress argument does show that a foundationalist approach is prima facie plausible. He argues, however, that when foundationalism is carefully examined, it turns out to suffer from fatal flaws. In support of the latter claim, Bonjour offers two, interrelated arguments, each of which concerns the issue of whether it is reasonable, in the final analysis, to believe that some beliefs can be justified without being supported by evidence. Argument 1: Doxastic Ascent Formulations of this type of argument are found in Ernie Sosa's article, "The Raft and the Pyramid: Coherence Versus Foundations in the Theory of Knowledge", and in Larry Bonjour's "A Critique of Foundationalism". Sosa, for example, offers the following summary: "A belief B is foundationally justified for S in virtue of having a property F only if S is justified in believing (1) that most at least of his beliefs with property F are true, and (2) that B has property F. But this means that belief B is not foundational after all, and indeed that the very notion of (empirical) foundational belief is incoherent." (Pojman's anthology, 260) A similar, but fuller statement of the argument is offered by Bonjour: "If we let 'Ï' represent this feature, then for a belief B to qualify as basic in an acceptable foundationalist account, the premises of the following justificatory argument must themselves be at least justified: (i) Belief B has feature Ï. (ii) Beliefs having feature Ï are highly likely to be true. Therefore, B is highly likely to be true. Notice further that while either premise taken separately might turn out to be justifiable on an a priori basis (depending on the particular choice of Ï), it seems clear that they could not both be thus justifiable. For B is ex hypothesi an empirical belief, and it is hard to see how a particular empirical belief could be justified on a purely a priori basis. And if we now assume, reasonably enough, that for B to be justified for a particular person (at a particular time) it is necessary, not merely that a justification for B exist in the abstract, but that the person in question be in cognitive possession of that justification, we get the result that B is not basic after all since its justification depends on that of at least one other empirical belief. 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)." (Pojman's anthology, 216)
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

Page1 / 4

Two Arguments Against Foundationalism - Two Arguments...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online