Foundationalism, epistemic dependence, and defeasibility

Synthese 55 (1):119 - 139 (1983)
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Abstract

This paper is an examination of modest foundationalism in relation to some important criteria of epistemic dependence. The paper distinguishes between causal and epistemic dependence and indicates how each might be related to reasons. Four kinds of reasons are also distinguished: reasons to believe, reasons one has for believing, reasons for which one believes, and reasons why one believes. In the light of all these distinctions, epistemic dependence is contrasted with defeasibility, and it is argued that modest foundationalism is not committed to criteria of epistemic dependence on which foundational beliefs are indefeasible. Modest foundationalism is contrasted with coherentism and is shown to be hospitable to a causal criterion of epistemic dependence, compatible with reliabilism, and neutral with respect to skepticism.

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Robert N. Audi
University of Notre Dame

References found in this work

Theory of Knowledge.Roderick Chisholm - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.
Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge.Alvin Goldman - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (November):771-791.
Epistemic Operators.Fred Dretske - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.
Epistemology Naturalized.W. V. Quine - 1969 - In Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. New York: Columbia University Press.

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