Rescher’s Epistemological System

  • Laurence Bonjour
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series in Philosophy book series (PSSP, volume 15)


The main focus of Rescher’s recent work has been epistemology. In a series of interrelated books and articles,1 he has developed a comprehensive and novel epistemological position, one which is both labyrinthine in its complexity and also radically and deliberately eclectic. The resulting epistemological system defies any simple characterization or assessment. In this paper, I shall neglect many of its aspects in order to focus on what is arguably its core: Rescher’s account of the manner in which a theory of empirical knowledge is itself to be justified. Thus, adapting a familiar distinction from moral philosophy, our primary concern will be with Rescher’s meta-epistemological position, as opposed to his normative-epistemological position (though the distinction between these two is in the end much less sharp for Rescher than it is for most epistemologists). Focusing on the meta-epistemological issue will give us a thread which we may hope to follow through some selected parts of the labyrinthe without losing our way altogether.


Empirical Knowledge Coherent System Epistemic Justification Factual Truth Coherence Theory 
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    Roderick Chisholm ; see his Theory of Knowledge, 2nd edition (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977)Google Scholar
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    William P. Alston, ‘Varieties of Privileged Access,’ American Philosophical Quarterly 8 (1971), pp. 223–41Google Scholar
  3. WPilliam Alston, ‘Two Types of Founddationalism,’ Journal of Philosophy 73 (1976), pp. 165–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anthony Quinton, ‘The Foundations of Knowledge,’ in British Analytical Philosophy, ed. Bernard Williams and Alan Montefiore (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966)Google Scholar
  5. Anthony Quinton, The nature of Things (London: Routledgge & Kegan Paul, 1973)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurence Bonjour
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WashingtonUSA

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