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Title:The Case Against Foundationalism: An Examination of Some Main Anti-Foundational Arguments
Author(s):Harker, Jay Everett
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:The primary purpose of this study is to critically assess some of the main objections that have been raised against foundational theories of epistemic justification. Toward this end I begin in the Introduction by defining some key terms, giving a first (somewhat rough) characterization of foundationalism, and providing a list of ten sorts of anti-foundational arguments to be considered.
Chapter I is devoted to a study of the so-called "regress argument." This study is essential for my purposes, since I am defining foundationalism in terms of the regress argument's conclusion. I examine various objections that foundationalists have offered against claims that chains of justified beliefs may end in "blind posits," continue infinitely, or form loops or circles. After conducting this study I am able to more precisely define foundationalism.
In Chapter II I am concerned to expose various putative anti-foundational arguments that turn out to be, literally, irrelevant. That is, the three argument-types considered in Chapter II are such that, even if they are sound they fail to show that foundationalism is untenable.
Since the regress argument plays such a major role in providing both motivation and rational support for foundational theories of justification, it is important to assess the merits of various sorts of anti-foundational arguments meant to show that the regress argument is unsound. An assessment of two such argument-types is the central focus of Chapter III.
Finally, Chapter IV is devoted to an examination of the five kinds of anti-foundational arguments from our original list not covered in previous chapters. My final conclusion is that reports of the death of foundationalism have been greatly exaggerated; foundationalism has by no means shown false or unreasonable.
Issue Date:1981
Description:170 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8127602
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-14
Date Deposited:1981

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