The foundations of foundationalism

Noûs 14 (4):547-564 (1980)
Abstract
There is a controversy in contemporary philosophy over the question whether or not knowledge must have a foundation. On one side are the foundationalists, who do accept the metaphor and find the foundation in sensory experience or the like. The coherentists, on the other side, reject the foundations metaphor and consider our body of knowledge a coherent whole floating free of any foundations. This controversy grew rapidly with the rise of idealism many years ago, and it is prominent today not only in epistemology proper but also in philosophy of science and even in ethics. The discussion of this issue has been lamentably hampered by confusion and misunderstanding, and in this neither side is wholly innocent. The reflections that follow are not meant to settle the controversy, but only to help us understand it more clearly.
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James van Cleve (2011). Rates of Passage. Analytic Philosophy 52 (3):141-170.
Miles Little (2013). Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit? Medicine Rests on Solid Foundations. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 19 (3):467-470.
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