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Reply to Bonjour

  • Nicholas Rescher
Chapter
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series in Philosophy book series (PSSP, volume 15)

Abstract

Two points above all in Laurence Bonjour’s interesting discussion seem to me to demand a reply. The first relates to his renewed stress of the old point that “a coherent system seems to stand in splendid isolation with no effective input from the extra-theoretical world which it purports to describe.” I want to emphasize that my own coherentism is immune to this objection because it insists that “coherent” means “coherent with the plausible data” and recognizes — indeed stresses — the role for inputs into the functioning of our cognitive processes in the factual domain. Some writers would call such a theory a modest foundationalism, but this is a serious misnomer. There is nothing foundational about a recognition of the need for inputs in the acquisition of factual knowledge. Foundationalism, as I see it, turns not on the issue of the existence of inputs (who denies that?!), but on the nature of their role. (One might as well call Copernican astronomy a modest Ptolemaicism because it continues to admit the existence of the sun.)

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

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  • Nicholas Rescher

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