Grounds and limits: Reichenbach and foundationalist epistemology

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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/41477576
 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: 15,831
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

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

48 ( #69,743 of 1,724,750 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #110,389 of 1,724,750 )

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.