Traditional Internalism and Foundational Justification

Erkenntnis 85 (1):121-138 (2020)
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Several arguments attempt to show that if traditional, acquaintance-based epistemic internalism is true, we cannot have foundational justification for believing falsehoods. I examine some of those arguments and find them wanting. Nevertheless, an infallibilist position about foundational justification is highly plausible: prima facie, much more plausible than moderate foundationalism. I conclude with some remarks about the dialectical position we infallibilists find ourselves in with respect to arguing for our preferred view and some considerations regarding how infallibilists should develop their account of infallible foundational justification. In particular, I provide an account of how propositions that moderate foundationalists claim are foundationally justified derive their epistemic support from infallibly known propositions. This is possible when a foundational proposition is coarsely-grained enough to correspond to determinable properties exemplified in experience or determinate properties that a subject insufficiently attends to; one may have inferential justification derived from such a basis when a more finely-grained proposition includes in its content one of the ways that the foundational proposition could be true.



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Gregory Stoutenburg
York College Of Pennsylvania

Citations of this work

Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3):e12727.
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Knowledge by acquaintance vs. description.Richard Fumerton - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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The structure of empirical knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Theory of knowledge.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,: Prentice-Hall.
Justification and truth.Stewart Cohen - 1984 - Philosophical Studies 46 (3):279--95.

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