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foundationalism


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


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E pistemology The term may be used in the rationalist sense, referring especially to Descartes 's project of constructing a system of knowledge on a foundation of clear and distinct ideas of reason. However, in contemporary philosophy it is a type of theory of epistemic justification in Anglo-American epistemology, which holds that knowledge can be exhibited as a structure, with a foundation and superstructure. Since the senses are our only contacts with the external world, some basic beliefs resulting directly from perception have a privileged epistemic status. They are self-warranting without standing in need of further justification , while all other non-basic beliefs must be justified ultimately by appeal to them. These basic perceptual beliefs provide the ultimate foundation of justification. There are various views among different versions of foundationalism about the nature of the basic, incorrigible perceptual beliefs, and the modes of the derivation of the superstructure from the foundations. In opposition to foundationalism are coherentism and other forms of anti-foundationalism, which deny that any beliefs are incorrigible or basic. The affirmation of foundational beliefs is attacked as “the myth of the given.” “I assume that, for anything H that is evident for us, there is something E which is a basis of H for S. This assumption might be said to characterise ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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