How to Understand the Foundations of Empirical Belief in a Coherentist Way

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 256)

The central claim of the paper is, roughly, that the fact that it looks to somebody as if p is a defeasibly a priori reason for assuming that p (and vice versa), for any person, even for the perceiver herself. As a preparation, it outlines a doxastic conception suitable to explicate this claim (section 11.2) and explains how to analyze dispositions within this conception (section 11.3). Since an observable p has the disposition to look as if p, this analysis generalizes to the central claim which is then argued to be at the bottom of coherentism (section 11.4). Thus, the defense of the claim (in section 11.5) supports coherentism as opposed to foundationalism and at the same time provides an answer to skepticism about the external world. Section 11.6 concludes by depriving the foundationalists even of their last resort.


Ranking Function Basic Belief Reason Relation Belief Change Phenomenal Concept 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

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