Probability without certainty: foundationalism and the Lewis–Reichenbach debate

Like many discussions on the pros and cons of epistemic foundationalism, the debate between C.I. Lewis and H. Reichenbach dealt with three concerns: the existence of basic beliefs, their nature, and the way in which beliefs are related. In this paper we concentrate on the third matter, especially on Lewis’s assertion that a probability relation must depend on something that is certain, and Reichenbach’s claim that certainty is never needed. We note that Lewis’s assertion is prima facie ambiguous, but argue that this ambiguity is only apparent if probability theory is viewed within a modal logic. Although there are empirical situations where Reichenbach is right, and others where Lewis’s reasoning seems to be more appropriate, it will become clear that Reichenbach’s stance is the generic one. This follows simply from the fact that, if P > 0 and P > 0, then P > 0. We conclude that this constitutes a threat to epistemic foundationalism
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2006.06.003
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,217
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
James Pryor (2001). Highlights of Recent Epistemology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (1):95--124.
Hans Reichenbach (1939). Experience and Prediction. Philosophical Review 48 (5):536-538.
Timm Triplett (1990). Recent Work on Foundationalsim. American Philosophical Quarterly 27 (2):93 - 116.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

102 ( #44,347 of 1,932,462 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

21 ( #27,472 of 1,932,462 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.