David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 181 (1):113 - 124 (2011)
From 1929 onwards, C. I. Lewis defended the foundationalist claim that judgements of the form 'x is probable' only make sense if one assumes there to be a ground y that is certain (where x and y may be beliefs, propositions, or events). Without this assumption, Lewis argues, the probability of x could not be anything other than zero. Hans Reichenbach repeatedly contested Lewis's idea, calling it "a remnant of rationalism". The last move in this debate was a challenge by Lewis, defying Reichenbach to produce a regress of probability values that yields a number other than zero. Reichenbach never took up the challenge, but we will meet it on his behalf, as it were. By presenting a series converging to a limit, we demonstrate that x can have a definite and computable probability, even if its justification consists of an infinite number of steps. Next we show the invalidity of a recent riposte of foundationalists that this limit of the series can be the ground of justification. Finally we discuss the question where justification can come from if not from a ground.
|Keywords||Foundationalism Reichenbach Probability|
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References found in this work BETA
Laurence BonJour (1985). The Structure of Empirical Knowledge. Harvard University Press.
Hans Reichenbach (1938). Experience and Prediction. University of Chicago Press.
Jeanne Peijnenburg (2007). Infinitism Regained. Mind 116 (463):597 - 602.
John Turri (2009). On the Regress Argument for Infinitism. Synthese 166 (1):157 - 163.
Citations of this work BETA
Frederik Herzberg (2013). The Consistency of Probabilistic Regresses: Some Implications for Epistemological Infinitism. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 78 (2):371-382.
Frederik Herzberg (2014). The Dialectics of Infinitism and Coherentism: Inferential Justification Versus Holism and Coherence. Synthese 191 (4):701-723.
David Atkinson & Jeanne Peijnenburg (2010). The Solvability of Probabilistic Regresses. A Reply to Frederik Herzberg. Studia Logica 94 (3):347 - 353.
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