In Andrew Cullison (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Epistemology. Continuum. pp. 37 (2012)

Daniel Howard-Snyder
Western Washington University
Foundationalists distinguish basic from nonbasic beliefs. At a first approximation, to say that a belief of a person is basic is to say that it is epistemically justified and it owes its justification to something other than her other beliefs, where “belief” refers to the mental state that goes by that name. To say that a belief of a person is nonbasic is to say that it is epistemically justified and not basic. Two theses constitute Foundationalism: (a) Minimality: There are some basic beliefs, and (b) Exclusivity: If there are any nonbasic beliefs, that is solely because they (ultimately) owe their justification to some basic belief. Proponents of Minimality but not Exclusivity endorse Minimal Foundationalism. Proponents of Exclusivity but not Minimality endorse either Epistemic Nihilism, the view that there are no justified beliefs, or some non-foundationalist epistemology such as Coherentism or Infinitism. In this essay I aim to characterize the notion of a basic belief more precisely and to assess some arguments for and against Foundationalism. In the process, I hope to exhibit the resilience and attractiveness of Foundationalism.
Keywords foundationalism  epistemology  epistemic regress  regress argument  the given  coherentism  infinitism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

Foundationalism and Arbitrariness.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2005 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (1):18–24.
Foundationalism for Modest Infinitists.John Turri - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):275-283.
The Trouble with Infinitism.Andrew D. Cling - 2004 - Synthese 138 (1):101 - 123.
On the Regress Argument for Infinitism.John Turri - 2009 - Synthese 166 (1):157 - 163.
On a “Fatal Dilemma” for Moderate Foundationalism.Daniel Howard-Snyder & Christian Lee - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30:251-259.


Added to PP index

Total views
295 ( #36,789 of 2,520,847 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #116,970 of 2,520,847 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes