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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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What-sowhat-nowwhat – Canadian Positive Deviance. 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.

Generalizing Empirical Adequacy I: Scepticism, Context and Modal Reasoning. A coherent system must be consistent, but a consistent system need not be very coherent.

PUBLICATIONS: Laurence BonJour

Indubitability should have to do with whether a proposition can be doubted, incorrigibility with whether a belief in it can be corrected, jnowledge 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. So, empifical problem is with which principle? I will consider externalist views in Chapter 3, focusing initially on Armstrong’s version. Thus a tenable version of foundationalism must apparently reject either premise 3 or premise 4. This crucial point may caj formulated a bit more precisely, as follows.

Laurence Bonjour Again, what is the doctrine of the given??? A more specific analysis of the problem in this particular instance: What are the objections to it? Weak foundationalism is a version of foundationalism because it holds that there are basic beliefs having some degree, though a relatively low one, of noninferential epistemic justification.


So, what is your reaction? His argument centers around justification, which he thinks goes something like:. Consider the state of affairs of a person A having a certain allegedly infallible basic empirical belief B; call this state of affairs S1.

Thus such beliefs have been claimed to be not just adequately justified, but also infallible, certain, indubitable, or incorrigible. Jamin Asay – – Synthese 3: Therefore, the justification of a supposed basic empirical belief must depend on the justification of at least one other empirical belief, contradicting I ; it follows that there can be no basic empirical beliefs.

Propositional and Doxastic Justification in Epistemology. He must be able to recognize beliefs which result from the process in question though he need not know anything about the details of the process.


OK, so Bonjour’s arguing against the foundationalist view in epistemology. How can coherence, not itself an independent source of justification on a foundationalist view, justify the rejection of some initially credible beliefs and enhance the justification of others?

P could thus serve as a useful epistemic instrument, a kind of cognitive thermometer, for such an external observer. This being so, it will suffice to concentrate here on moderate foundationalism, leaving the application of the discussion to weak foundationalism largely implicit.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Become a Redditor and subscribe to one of thousands of communities. But coherence will never suffice to pick out one system of beliefs, since there will always be many other alternative, incompatible systems of belief which are equally coherent and hence equally justified according to the CTEK. How is it similar??? For the justification of each of the beliefs which figure in the circle seems now to presuppose its own epistemically prior justification: Foundationalists argue that 1 – 3 are untenable, which leaves only 4so Foundationalism should be accepted as an answer to the regress problem.

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 the interesting claim for my purposes is the claim that basic beliefs are logically infallible. Check our list of frequently asked questions to see if your question has already been answered.

Request removal from index. 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 it. 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. The regress problem — What is this again??? The Ontology of Epistemic Reasons. Therefore, B is highly likely to be true. Flair legend Level of involvement: And hence discussions of foundationalism, both pro and con, which concentrate on this stronger but inessential claim are in serious danger of bypassing the main issue: 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.


B will have as its content the proposition that some empirical state of affairs S exists. But this means that the alleged system of empirical knowledge is deprived of all input from the world. I will discuss this view, the doctrine of the empirically given, in Chapter 4. The second principle seems to simply replace the demand for justification with something completely different?

From Laurence BonJour, The Structure of Empirical Knowledge,

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 founxation for the regress of justification.

If B is to actually be basic, then presumably premise 1 would have to be true as well, but Foudnation am concerned here only with what would have to be so for it to be reasonable to accept B as basic and use it to justify other beliefs. From his perspective, it is an accident that the belief is true. Moreover, weak hsve faces at least one serious objection which does not apply to moderate foundationalism, namely that the underlying logic of the weak foundationalist’s account has never been made adequately clear.


As philosophical issues are often complicated and have potentially thousands of years of research to sift through, knowing when someone is an expert in a given area can be important in helping understand and weigh the given evidence. The weak foundationalist solution to this problem is to attempt to augment the justification of both basic and nonbasic beliefs by appealing to the concept of coherence.

The weak foundationalist does appear to have an adequate answer to the first of the standard objections to the kknowledge theory set forth earlier: But if this intuition or apprehension that justifies a belief is a cognitive state, then it is difficult to see what justifies the intuition or apprehension itself.