Bursting Bealer's Bubble: How the Starting Points Argument Begs the Question of Foundationalism Against Quine
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):87-106 (2004)
In his 1993 article George Bealer offers three separate arguments that are directed against the internal coherence of empiricism, specifically against Quine’s version of empiricism. One of these arguments is the starting points argument (SPA) and it is supposed to show that Quinean empiricism is incoherent. We argue here that this argument is deeply flawed, and we demonstrate how a Quinean may successfully defend his views against Bealer’s SPA. Our defense of Quinean empiricism against the SPA depends on showing (1) that Bealer is, in an important sense, a foundationalist, and (2) that Quine is, in an important sense, a coherentist. Having established these two contentions we show that Bealer’s SPA begs the question against Quinean empiricists.
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