From Vicious Circle to Infinite Regress, and Back Again

Abstract
The demise of foundationalism in epistemology was complete by the time of the Second World War: knowledge and rational opinion do not rest on absolutely secure, self-authenticating foundations, neither in experience nor elsewhere. This realization came to philosophers in large measure at the hands of that same detested logical positivism so often been depicted as foundationalism's last gasp. (Cf. Reichenbach (1938), Ch. 3; in a larger historical perspective, the demise may possibly be dated much earlier.) I will not argue for this; I take the demise for granted. The task which lay, and still lies, before us is to find a way of life after foundationalism. The simultaneous rise of scientific realism and a more historical orientation through the work of Hanson, Sellars, Feyerabend, and Kuhn brought this task to awareness. At the same time, it seems to me, these writers opened the way for a truly viable, anti-realist, empiricist philosophy of science -- a post-foundationalist empiricism, in contrast to those varieties of empiricism that were identified as the last bastion of foundationalism in epistemology.
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Citations of this work BETA
O. Bueno (1997). Empirical Adequacy: A Partial Structures Approach. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 28 (4):585-610.
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Bas C. Van Fraassen (1992). From Vicious Circle to Infinite Regress, and Back Again. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:6 - 29.
Thomas Oberdan (1998). The Vienna Circle's 'Anti-Foundationalism'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (2):297-308.
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