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Epistemic Priority and Coherence

  • Noah M. Lemos
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 44)

Abstract

There are two related topics considered in this paper. The first topic concerns the status of basic beliefs and the thesis of epistemic priority, and the second concerns the justification of observational and introspective beliefs within a coherentist approach to justification. These issues are related since the proponents of coherence theories typically deny the thesis of epistemic priority and the existence of basic beliefs, and since those sympathetic to the thesis typically maintain that our introspective beliefs are among the clearest examples of basic beliefs. In the first section I shall consider an argument by Laurence Bonjour against the existence of basic beliefs and the thesis of epistemic priority. Though I believe that the argument is unsuccessful, it provides an important challenge to foundationalist views of justification. Still, this argument presupposes a certain view of what is required for justification, and in the second section I argue that this view of justification presents problems for BonJour’s positive account of the warrant of observational and introspective beliefs. In addition to BonJour’s views, I shall also consider a brief proposal by Roderick Firth in response to the objection that coherence theories cut off justification from the world.

Keywords

Justify Belief Basic Belief Epistemic Justification Coherence Theory Doxastic State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. BonJour, Laurence. The Structure of Empirical Knowledge. Cambridge, Mass.: The Harvard University Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  2. Firth, Roderick. “Coherence, Certainty, and Epistemic Priority.” The Journal of Philosophy LXI (1964), 545–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Sosa, Ernest. “The Raft and the Pyramid: Coherence versus Foundations in the Theory of Knowledge,” in Midwest Studies in Philosophy V, Peter French, Theodore Uehling Jr., and Howard Wettstein., eds., Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1980, 3–25.Google Scholar
  4. Van Cleve, James. “Epistemic Supervenience and The Circle of Belief.” The Monist 68 (1985), 90–104.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noah M. Lemos
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas at AustinUSA

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