Dissertation, University of Cincinnati (1982)

This dissertation is an investigation into the nature of justification and rational belief. In Chapter I, four theories of the justification of belief are presented and criticized. These theories--classical foundationalism, modest foundationalism, coherentism, and the causal theory--are found to be similar in a certain respect. They each embody or are consistent with a certain conception of rationality, one in which beliefs are rational just in case they are backed by adequate justifications, and in which adequate justifications are thought to be mental entities composed of beliefs and inferences. It is argued that this conception of rationality and justification does not naturally generate an account of the social functions of justifications, of their role as the rational means for securing intrasubjective agreement. Motivated by this shortcoming, a fifth theory of justification, contextualism, is introduced. By conceiving of justifications as arguments--as structured sets of statements which one person offers to another--the contextualist proposes to give a theory of the adequacy of justification which will account for the social functions of justifications. In Chapter II, a contextual theory of justification is formulated. This theory consists, in part, of a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for the adequacy of justifications. According to the theory, a justification's adequacy is relative to the context in which it is given. And on this view, a particular justification is adequate relative to a certain context just in case it is adequate to fulfill two social goals: to convince the people to whom it is given that the person giving it is justified in accepting its conclusion and to convince them that they would be justified in accepting the conclusion. In Chapter III, the final chapter, a contextual theory of rational belief is developed and defended against the charge that its relativism renders rationality arbitrary. In this chapter, the conditions under which people are justified in believing particular statements are formulated. It is argued that all justified, rational beliefs rest ultimately on unjustified, arational ones. And a general theory of the nature of arational belief is offered
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,226
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Coherence and the Justification of Belief.Anthony Joseph Graybosch - 1983 - Dissertation, City University of New York
Knowledge and Language.Elizabeth Fricker - 1986 - Dissertation, University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
Epistemic Rationality and Justification.Wei-Ming Wu - 1993 - Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Knowledge Without Justification.William Davis Cornwell - 2003 - Dissertation, The University of Connecticut
The Defense Activation Theory of Epistemic Justification.Kihyeon Kim - 1992 - Dissertation, The University of Arizona
Subjectivity in Justification.Jonathan Lee Kvanvig - 1982 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
The Structure of Justification.Robert Audi - 1993 - Cambridge University Press.
Adequacy and Sufficiency in Explanation.Lucien Manning Garrett - 1998 - Dissertation, University of Georgia
Scientific Realism, Perceptual Beliefs, and Justification.Richard Otte - 1990 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:393 - 404.
Belief System Foundations of Backward Induction.Antonio Quesada - 2002 - Theory and Decision 53 (4):393-403.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes