The trouble with infinitism

Synthese 138 (1):101 - 123 (2004)
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Abstract

One way to solve the epistemic regress problem would be to show that we can acquire justification by means of an infinite regress. This is infinitism. This view has not been popular, but Peter Klein has developed a sophisticated version of infinitism according to which all justified beliefs depend upon an infinite regress of reasons. Klein's argument for infinitism is unpersuasive, but he successfully responds to the most compelling extant objections to the view. A key component of his position is his claim that an infinite regress is necessary, but not sufficient, for justified belief. This enables infinitism to avoid a number of otherwise compelling objections. However, it commits infinitism to the existence of an additional feature of reasons that is necessary and, together with the regress condition, sufficient for justified belief. The trouble with infinitism is that any such condition could account for the connection between justification and truth only by undermining the rationale for the regress condition itself.

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Andrew Cling
University of Alabama, Huntsville

References found in this work

Theory of Knowledge.Roderick Chisholm - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.
Human knowledge and the infinite regress of reasons.Peter D. Klein - 1999 - Philosophical Perspectives 13:297-325.
Epistemic circularity.William P. Alston - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (1):1-30.
Can Empirical Knowledge Have a Foundation?Laurence Bonjour - 1978 - American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (1):1-14.

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