Bonjour‘s Self-Defeating Argument for Coherentism

Erkenntnis 50 (2-3):463-479 (1999)
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Abstract

One of the most influential arguments for the coherence theory of empirical justification is BonJours a priori argument from the internalist regress. According to this argument, foundationalism cannot solve the problem of the internalist regress since internalism is incompatible with basic beliefs. Hence, coherentism seems to be the only option. In my article I contend that this argument is doomed to failure. It is either too strong or too weak. Too strong, since even coherentism cannot stop the internalist regress in any legitimate way. In order to demonstrate this claim I will discuss various coherentist strategies. Too weak, since, were coherentism able to stop the regress, the argument against foundationalism would collapse.

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Thomas Grundmann
University of Cologne

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References found in this work

The structure of empirical knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
In Defense of Pure Reason.Laurence BonJour - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
Warrant: The Current Debate.Warrant and Proper Function.Alvin Plantinga - 1993 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
Knowledge and evidence.Paul K. Moser - 1989 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The reliability of sense perception.William P. Alston - 1993 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

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