I am not so insular and I hope not so presumptuous as to suppose that there is no contemporary philosophy apart from that empiricism which dominates very much of Great Britain, North America and Scandinavia. So let us notice that contemporary philosophy embraces broadly three points of view, though it will be part of my argument that they largely combine in the lessons they have to teach us, and in many of their implications for theology.
This paper argues for a completely universal scepticism, according to which no beliefs at all are justified to the least degree. The argument starts with a version of the Agrippan trilemma, according to which, if we accept that a belief is justified, we must choose between foundationalism, coherentism of a particular sort, and an infinite regress of justified beliefs. Each of these theories is given a careful specification in terms of the relationship of “justifiedness in p depending on justifiedness in (...) q”. It is then argued that no beliefs – not even beliefs about phenomenal experiences – are foundational in the required way. Both coherentism and infinitism are untenable, since, since they face various objections, most significantly the objection that acceptance of either would commit one to allowing that all beliefs were justified. Because the three possible accounts of justificational structure all fail radically, it is concluded that no beliefs are justified. (shrink)