An Argument for Scepticism concerning Justified Beliefs

American Philosophical Quarterly 13 (3):221 - 228 (1976)
This paper argues for a completely universal scepticism, according to which no beliefs at all are justified to the least degree. The argument starts with a version of the Agrippan trilemma, according to which, if we accept that a belief is justified, we must choose between foundationalism, coherentism of a particular sort, and an infinite regress of justified beliefs. Each of these theories is given a careful specification in terms of the relationship of “justifiedness in p depending on justifiedness in q”. It is then argued that no beliefs – not even beliefs about phenomenal experiences – are foundational in the required way. Both coherentism and infinitism are untenable, since, since they face various objections, most significantly the objection that acceptance of either would commit one to allowing that all beliefs were justified. Because the three possible accounts of justificational structure all fail radically, it is concluded that no beliefs are justified.
Keywords skepticism   justified belief  foundationalism  coherentism  Infinite regress of justification  epistemic regress  infinitism
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Selim Berker (2015). Coherentism Via Graphs. Philosophical Issues 25 (1):322-352.
Adam Leite (2005). A Localist Solution to the Regress of Epistemic Justification. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (3):395 – 421.
Carl Gillett (2003). Infinitism Redux? A Response to Klein. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):709–717.

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