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Chapter 17

PHLA10H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 17: Foundationalism, Dry Dock


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHLA10H3
Professor
William Seager
Chapter
17

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Beyond Foundationalism
Humes problem and Descartes problematic
Both Descartes and Hume were foundationalists in the way they approached
questions about knowledge and justification
Each held that IF a belief is rationally justified or known, then it is justified or
known solely on basis of its relationship to beliefs at lower levels.
Foundationalism holds that justification flows from bottom to top
Hume thought that IF beliefs in category 3 were justified, they would have to be
justified solely on the basis of item in category 2.
Descartes thought that IF beliefs in category 2 were justified, they would have to be
justified solely on the basis of items in category 1.
however Hume beliefs that level 3 beliefs cannot be justified (skeptic)
Descartes on the other hand, argues that level 2 can be justified
Seaber argues that our present perceptions and memories are not simply enough,
taken all by themselves, to justify the beliefs I have at level 3.
Not only do lower-level statements fail to deductively imply higher-level
statements; I additionally claim that lower-level statements, all by themselves,
are not enough to provide a justification for higher-level statements.
Whether X is Evidence for Y Depends on Background Assumptions Z
(a) you seem to see a page in front of you now
(b) there is a printed page in front of you now
- Do your present experiences provide evidence about the physical environment you
occupy?
- It depends on what you assume about the relationship between you present
experiences and the world outside your mind.
- if you assume that the environment is “normal” and that your senses are
functioning properly, then (a) is evidence favouring (b)
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