Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||In epistemology Chisholm was a defender of FOUNDATIONALISM [S]. He asserted that any proposition that it is justified for a person to believe gets at least part of its justification from basic propositions, which are themselves justified but not by anything else. Contingent propositions are basic insofar as they correspond to selfpresenting states of the person, which for Chisholm are states such that whenever one is in the state and believes that one is in it, one’s belief is maximally justified. There are two types of self-presenting states, intentional states (ways of thinking, hoping, fearing, desiring, wondering, intending, etc.) and sensory states (ways of being appeared to by the various senses). A noncontingent proposition is basic if understanding it is sufficient for understanding that it is true and also sufficient for making it justified. “2+3=5” and “If Jones is ill and Smith is away, then Jones is ill” are examples of such propositions, says Chisholm. Self-presentation and understanding are among the basic sources of epistemic justification, but according to Chisholm there are other sources as well. The most important of these other sources are perception, memory, belief coupled with a lack of negative coherence (e.g., no inconsistencies among the propositions believed), and belief coupled with positive coherence (i.e., mutual support among the proposition believed). For each of these sources, Chisholm forwards an epistemic principle that describes the conditions under which the source generates justification. Despite his thinking that there are many sources of epistemic justification, Chisholm is rightly regarded as a foundationalist because all the sources are such that they can produce justified beliefs only because some propositions are justified basically. For example, Chisholm’s principles concerning perception and memory make reference to propositions that are justified because they correspond to self-presenting states. In the case of perception, the relevant states are sensings, and for memory the relevant states are beliefs, in particular, beliefs to the effect that one remembers something..|
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