UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Epistemic foundations Rée, Robert


A traditional foundationalist such as Lewis claims that without absolutely certain foundational beliefs our empirical claims about the world would be arbitrary, for if justification would be a matter of coherence alone, it would be possible to believe anything whatever. Lewis holds that statements about our immediate sensory experiences are absolutely certain because they are incorrigible, but Armstrong, Ayer, Goodman and Sikora have shown that it is both logically and factually possible to be mistaken about one's current sensory experiences. The question is then whether some kind of foundational view of justification can be maintained without the existence of absolutely certain or incorrigible beliefs. Annis, Ayer, Delaney and Sikora all have formulated foundational accounts of justification without relying on absolutely certain beliefs, but objections can be made to some of these accounts to show that they do not really work. Williams charges that any kind of foundational view of justification is doomed to failure because there are no such things as intrinsically credible beliefs. But it can be shown that, without intrinsically credible beliefs, Williams's no-foundations view of justification is radically defective, and the view will be defended that sensory judgements have at least some degree of intrinsic credibility.

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