History of Philosophy Quarterly 37 (1):77-99 (2020)

Griffin Klemick
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
While C. I. Lewis was traditionally interpreted as an epistemological foundationalist throughout his major works, virtually every recent treatment of Lewis's epistemology dissents. But the traditional interpretation is correct: Lewis believed that apprehensions of "the given" are certain independently of support from, and constitute the ultimate warrant for, objective empirical beliefs. This interpretation proves surprisingly capable of accommodating apparently contrary textual evidence. The non-foundationalist reading, by contrast, simply cannot explain Lewis's explicit opposition to coherentism and his insistence that only apprehensions of the given enable us to answer the regress problem -- and so vindicate the possibility of empirical justification.
Keywords C. I. Lewis  foundationalism  empirical justification  regress problem  the given
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